We’re only a couple of days away and many Maltese people still don’t have any idea who the hell they’re voting for at this weekend’s MEP Elections, with surveys showing an overwhelming 41% of people are yet to take a decision.
With Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and PN Leader Adrian Delia once again dominating the headlines, people still have little information over which candidate or party may be represent them.
The issues behind this can be two-fold. While partisanship is exploited by mainstream parties, the media (including ourselves) are just as guilty for gravitating to stories that pique people’s interests, failing to provide the necessary information ahead of the elections.
With roughly €100,000 per year on the line (minus perks) for the prospective MEPs, Lovin Malta is giving you a simple guide on who to vote for, depending on what you make of the island’s current state.
1. You’re fucking happy with the government
You’ve voted for the Labour Party (PL) all your life, and nothing’s going to change that. No matter what’s been said, you’re fully behind Muscat and his vision for the country, whether that’s with regards to the economy or civil liberties.
As long as the candidate will back the party’s message until the very end, you’re happy.
On the plus side, the Nationalist Party (PN) is on a tightrope threatening to tumble into irrelevance. Two successive embarrassing electoral defeats have left the party a shell of its former self. You’ve always hated PN, and it’s time to make sure they taste another devastating election result.*
How to vote:
Basically, practically every candidate is a Muscat loyalist. All you need to do is make sure all your numbers remain in the red boxes… just don’t fuck it up.
If you’re going from A to Z, Alex Agius Saliba’s move to take his wife’s surname may prove to be a masterstroke.
*If you’re a PN voter who is really that desperate for Delia to leave the PN, you might also be encouraged to do the same.
2. You’re a diehard Nationalist, no matter what
You’re still taking chances to win again and will back the PN till the very end. You’re in full support of Delia as the party’s leader, firm in your belief that he’s the man to take the PN into this election and beyond.
Generally, the idea should be the same as above. Give your numbers to as many blues as you can. However, with rivals expected to mount a leadership bid should Delia perform poorly, you may also be best served to give your vote to candidates who are clearly behind the embattled leader.
On the other hand, you might not be the biggest Delia fan, but you definitely hate Muscat, whether that’s because of his inaction when it comes to good governance or the constant overdevelopment.
How to vote:
Easy here. Blue all the way.
If you’re looking to oust any internal rivals, Frank Psaila and Dione Borg are very much part of Delia’s inner circle. If you’re a PN loyalist but yearn for the old days, give your votes to the current MEPs David Casa, Roberta Metsola and Francis Zammit Dimech.
3. You’re a big supporter of Muscat, but you believe in the value of a strong opposition
With MEP seats evenly split, the European Parliament is Malta’s last bastion of total equality. While a 4-2 majority in the PL’s favour is the most likely outcome, a 5-1 drubbing is on the cards.
The PN would fail to recover, making an already weak opposition practically irrelevant as Muscat canters towards a two-thirds Maltese parliamentary majority in 2022.
You’re happy with how the current administration has out-performed many of their predecessors, overseeing an economic boom and transforming Malta into a beacon of liberal values. However, lingering questions over good-governance mean you know Muscat needs to be kept on his toes.
How to vote:
Give your 1 to your favourite PL Candidate and the rest to PN, or vice-versa.Either way, you can always lie about who you voted for.
If you’re looking for PN candidates to vote for, think of anyone who has made good-governance a key issue, like Roberta Metsola, David Casa and Michael Briguglio.
4. You hate Delia, but you would never vote for the Labour Party
The conflict between assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and Delia exposed the deep wounds within the PN. Simon Busuttil’s ‘good governance’ mission has also left long-lasting scars, especially considering the severe allegations involving a Soho brothel.
That being said, you’ll also never make the switch to the PL given the government’s own antagonistic relationship with Caruana Galizia and good governance issues.
A vote for a third party is probably the most logical choice. For those who feel it would be a wasted vote, a third-party candidate will most likely drop early, immediately transferring your vote to a candidate who may stand a better chance of getting elected.
This could prove to be a risky move should a PN candidate you like drop earlier than your number 1 choice.
How to vote:
Basically, just give a third-party candidate your 1 and give the rest of your numbers to the PN candidates that best represent you (several established figures linked to PN’s old guard, like Francis Zammit Dimech, are also contending).
5. Maybe just give your 1 to the most competent MEP
As insane as it might be, maybe you could stop looking at the party and focus on the competence of the candidate. Who cares whether they’re PN, PL, AD, PD, or BS; ultimately, an MEP is there to represent your interests, so just find the key issues that affect you and vote accordingly.
Miriam Dalli and Roberta Metsola prove what good work can be done on the European stage regardless of political leanings, with both female politicians regularly featuring in lists concerning the most influential and best-acheiving MEPs.
Beyond sitting MEPs, candidates also have valuable experience on the political stage, be that PL’s Cyrus Engerer, PN’s David Stellini, PN’s Peter Agius, PL’s Alfred Sant or PD’s Godfrey Farrugia.
If you’re looking for a fresh face, there are plenty to choose from, with the PL’s Josianne Cutajar and Alex Agius Saliba and the PN’s Roselyn Borg Knight all contesting.
There are also a number of talented third-party candidates in the PD and AD who could shake up Malta’s political duopoly.
With the PL expected to get the fourth seat and MEP Marlene Mizzi stepping down, two new PL candidates will also become MEPs, making it essential to cross-party vote and ensure you get candidates that best represent you.
How to vote:
Open yourself up to cross-party voting and just go from 1 till the very end in order of who you think would be the best at the job.
6. The environment is important to you
Both main parties have proven time and time again that they fail miserably when it comes to having credibility on the environment, with development on ODZ land, rising traffic, and pollution always the name of the game.
If climate change truly is a priority in your life, you’re better off backing one of the third parties, with both PD and AD having strong candidates who actually care about the environment, such as Camilla Applegren (PD), Mina Tolu (AD) and Arnold Cassola (Independent).
That being said, most PN/PL MEP candidates seem to say the environment is essential to them and will be expected to fight for it on a wider European level. It’s the questions over whether they are ready to criticise their own party on the issue that remain.
Notable examples are PN candidate Michael Briguglio (who has championed the environment throughout his political career) and PL MEP Miriam Dalli, who has done some excellent work tackling the single-use plastic problem on the European stage.
The agriculture and fisheries industries have also emerged as an important topic, with Peter Agius (PN) and Alfred Sant (PL) the two main candidates talking about the issue.
How to vote:
Essentially, vote for those who aren’t scared to challenge Malta’s environmental failings. That’s anyone with AD, PD or candidates like Cassola, Briguglio and Dalli
7. You’re concerned about migration
Migration is a key issue in Malta, and an influx of foreigners brings about a cultural shift.
Considering people’s stances, it has to be made clear to any voter that the free movement of EU citizens is sacrosanct for the block, and no candidate is promising to change this.
Irregular migration and asylum seekers present a different perspective, given that serious questions remain over the EU’s inability to embrace the concept of ‘solidarity’ and help Mediterranean nations in dealing with the crisis.
When it comes to fringe parties, Moviment Pattrijoti Maltin (MPM) might be your likely destination. However, if you’re really extreme in your position on African migration (because Slavs are fine) and don’t mind the Hitler fascination, go ahead and vote for Norman Lowell.
PD Candidate Martin Cauchi Inglott has some valuable experience in migration having served as Armed Forces of Malta officer and spent a good chuck of career working directly on the issue both locally and in Europe.
The PN’s message (even though sometimes targeted at EU citizens) seems to resonate most with a strong anti-migrant stance out of the two major parties, with Muscat and his MEP candidates routinely touting the importance of migrants in terms of economic development.
Dione Borg (PN) is an outspoken voice against the impacts of migration on Maltese communities.
Meanwhile, Roberta Metsola is an MEP who has actually been able to accomplish a substantial amount after spearheading legislation that will see an increase of 10,000 border patrol staff.
How to vote:
If you’re anti-migrant but not extreme, you could either vote for MPM or some PN candidates. If you support eugenics and racial purity, vote for Norman Lowell.
8. Liberal issues are your top priority
In less than a decade, Malta has undergone a radical shift from a conservative nation to an EU leader on liberal issues.
The PL’s drive to enact such policies has positioned it as the champion of progressive debate in the country, making it the likely home for mainstream liberal voters.
The PL’s Cyrus Engerer and Josianne Cutajar, for example, have made serious commitments to ensure that recreational marijuana use is fully legalised.
Abortion, however, has become a common punching bag, after the Labour Party signed an EU manifesto which calls for the granting of full sexual reproductive rights.
While the Labour Party and its MEP candidates have repeatedly insisted that they are against the practice, a vote for them may be the best chance for abortion to become legal in the country.
Mina Tolu (AD) and Camilla Applegren are the only two candidates who have said they are pro-choice. Tolu is also an outspoken progressive activist for the LGBTI community.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Imperium Europa, Alleanza Bidla, and Moviment Patrijotti Maltin are the foremost critics against liberalism.
How to vote:
If you want liberal policies to be at the forefront of EU debate, push for a PL vote or fringe candidates like Tolu. On the other hand, head to Imperium Europa, Alleanza Bidla, or Moviment Patrijotti Maltin if you’re against all that
BONUS: You’re not going to vote
You’re done with both main parties and have little faith with what else is on offer. You’ve probably watched one too many Russel Brand videos and decided it’s just not worth your time.
No one is going to change your decision, but this European Parliament election is seriously important. With tax harmonisation, climate change and migration all key EU issues that have a direct and tangible influence on Malta, your vote could change which Maltese people are best positioned to fight for the country.
*The article was edited to include Martin Cauchi Inglott