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.

Liked it? Take a second to support the Tally Room on Patreon!