By all accounts, Partit Demokratiku Cami Appelgren should have been utterly smashed at the European Parliament elections. Not only is she Swedish and cannot speak Maltese, but she came out as pro-choice with days to go till the election, a move most politicians would undoubtedly consider akin to political suicide.
She also threw the playbook out of the window by deciding to run a completely money-free campaign, not spending a cent on anything from town hall meetings to boosted Facebook posts.
And yet the clean-up activist performed remarkably well, winning 3,053 votes on the first count and 5,154 once the votes had been transferred
This means she outperformed 13 mainstream candidates, including her own party leader Godfrey Farrugia – an MP, former mayor and former Health Minister.
She also did better than nine Labour candidates – Josef Caruana, Noel Cassar, Felix Galea Busuttil, Mary Gauci, James Grech, Robert Micallef, Joe Sammut, Lorna Vassallo and Fleur Vella, and five PN candidates – Dione Borg, Roselyn Borg Knight, Michael Briguglio, Michael Mercieca and MP David Stellini.
Appelgren also did better than other politicians renowned for their pro-environmental stances, such as AD leader Carmel Cacopardo and former AD leader Arnold Cassola, who won 1,021 and 2,127 votes respectively
“I’m going to make every single vote count,” Appelgren said in a Facebook post. “Rest assured that your trust in me was not for nothing. No vote is a lost one. My fight for Malta is life-long. Your vote was not for the coming years until next election. Your vote was for your children and grandchildren. It’s their future and their environment I’ve committed myself to safeguard.”