Malta Archive

Europe 2009 – Results wrap part 2

Here we go again:

  • Austria – It was a bad result for both parties in the governing grand coalition, with the centre-right People’s Party suffering a 2.7% swing, and the Social Democratic Party suffering a 9.5% swing. The SPO lost 3 of their 7 MEPs and the People’s Party remained steady on 6 seats. The Greens also lost a quarter of their vote, although they maintained their two seats. The independent Hans-Peter Martin came third with a 3.7% swing, and won a third seat for his ticket. The far-right Freedom Party doubled their vote to over 12%, and won a second seat. Thenew far-right party Alliance for the Future of Austria also polled 4.6% but failed to win a seat.
  • Cyprus – Both major parties, Democratic Rally and Progressive Party of Working People, gained votes with swings of about 7% for each party, although they only maintained the 2 seats that each party held. The Democratic Party lost a quarter of its seat, holding on to its one seat. The Movement for Social Democracy lost 1% of the vote, but managed to win a seat for the first time, after the centrist European Party lost a majority of its vote, and its sole MEP.
  • Denmark – The result was bad for the centre-left Social Democrats, suffering an 11% swing and losing one of their five seats, although they remained in first place. The governing centre-right Venstre party gained 1%, polling 20% and maintaining 3 seats. Greens-affiliated Socialist People’s Party almost doubled their vote to 15.85%, winning a second seat. The right-wing Danish People’s Party went from 6.8% to 15.3%, winning a second seat. The June Movement collapsed from 9% to 2.4%.
  • Finland – Finnish results were bad for all three major parties, with them all suffering negative swings, varying from a 0.5% swing against the National Coalition Party to 4.4% against the Centre Party. The parties that benefited included the Green League and the Libertas-aligned True Finns. The three major parties each lost one seat, with the National Coalition Party and Centre Party holding 3 seats each, and the Social Democrats holding 2. The Green League gained a second seat, and True Finns and Christian Democrats each won a seat for the first time. The minority Swedish People’s Party maintained their one seat while Left Alliance lost their one seat.
  • Germany – The German result saw a small swing to the left, even though the centre-right still won a decisive victory. After a massive defeat in 2004, the Social Democratic Party maintained its 23 seats, while the CDU/CSU coalition won 42, down 7 from 49 in 2004. Those seven seats went to minor parties with the centrist (although right-leaning) Free Democratic  Party winning 5 extra seats, for a total of 12. The Greens also gained one extra seat, winning 14. The Left Party also won more votes than the previous Party of Democratic Socialism, winning an 8th MEP.
  • Italy – The result was major victory for Silvio Berlusconi’s new party the People of Freedom. The party won 29 seats, up from 27 seats for the party’s predecessors in 2004. The result was also strong for the right-wing regionalist Lega Nord, winning 5 extra seats to add to their existing 4. The liberal party Italy of Values increased their seats from 2 to 7. In contrast, a number of small party coalitions were excluded after failing to pass the 4% threshold, including the coalition of socialists and Greens and the communist coalition.
  • Malta – The result in Malta was a decisive victory for the Labour Party, who easily won three of the five seats, with the Nationalists maintaining their two seats. While the Greens came close to winning a seat in 2004, with almost 10% of the vote, their vote dropped back to their normal level of 2.3%.
  • Sweden - Results for the major parties remained largely steady, with the Social Democrats holding 5 seats and the Moderate Party 4 seats. The centrist People’s Party gained a third seat, and the Greens gained a second seat. The Left Party lost more than half of its vote and one of their two seats. The eurosceptic June List lost three-quarters of its vote and all three of their seats. The Pirate Party polled 7.1% in their first election and won a seat.

Europe 2009 – Malta

The EU’s smallest country, Malta elects five MEPs by the Single Transferable Vote (like Ireland’s MEPs). This same system is used to elect Malta’s national parliament, with 13 5-member districts.

Maltese politics is one of the strictest two-party systems in the world. The only country that comes close to the level of duopoly is the United States. Two parties have dominated Maltese politics since the Second World War: the Labour Party (Party of European Socialists) and the Nationalist Party (European People’s Party). Indeed, in 1976, 1981 and 1987 there were literally no minor party or independent candidates. Alternattiva Demokratika was founded in 1989 and is considered to be the Maltese Green party. While they have contested every election since 1992, they have never gotten more than 2% in a national election, and never won a single seat.

In contrast, Alternattiva Demokratika polled quite strongly at the 2004 European election, with AD candidate Arnold Cassola polling just under 10%. After distribution of preferences, he came within 3% of winning a seat. In the end, three seats went to Labour and two to the Nationalist Party. Cassola, a dual Maltese-Italian citizen, then went on to be elected as an expatriate MP in the Italian Chamber of Deputies in 2006 for the centre-left coalition, before losing 2008.