WATCH: Prime Minister Joseph Muscat Plays The Underdog Again: ‘Unrealistic That Labour Will Win By 50,000 Votes’
"No matter what people say, these elections will be tight"
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has urged PL supporters not to expect a victory of over 50,000 votes at next month’s European Parliament election, despite opinion polls suggesting such a margin is indeed in the pipeline.
“No matter what people say, these elections will be tight and I smiled when I read analyses which predicted that we’ll win by 50,000, 60,000, or even 70,000 votes,” Muscat said today when officially launching the PL’s 14 MEP candidates. “It’s unrealistic and perhaps those who came up with these analyses don’t have experience in how elections work.”
Muscat downplayed predictions of such a wide gap on the grounds that voter turnout at MEP elections is historically only around 70%, some 20% lower than it is at general elections
“Even if 90% of people do turn up to vote, the PL will need to double its majority from the 2017 election, which is unrealistic,” he said.
“I think that those who are displaying those numbers are doing so to set the bar high so that even if the PN loses the elections, they’ll still be able to say that the margin wasn’t as high as predicted.”
Moreover, he warned that some PL supporters will be discouraged to vote in the MEP election because the Nationalist Party failed to field enough local council candidates to win a majority in their locality. According to this theory, these voters will be disincentivized from voting for MEPs safe in the knowledge that the PL will win their local council no matter what.
“The election starts at 0-0 because it is the people who will decide who will represent us and not a single vote has been cast yet,” Muscat said. “We will strive to convince every voter and do so serenely and as a united team, without a sense of superiority but with a sense of realism that all elections are combative.”
“I say this to be realistic so that we know what bar to set ourselves. Our target is to get the best possible result, maintain what we already have [three MEPs] and then see how we progress.”