The Progressive Post

Malta: a new Labour administration yet again

01/04/2022

Even though the general election in Malta brought an excellent result for Labour, with an overwhelming majority, it was an eye-opener for both major parties. Despite the very high voter turn-out by European standards (85.5 per cent), in Malta’s democratic past it was a historical low: a 60-year low, to be exact. For comparison: our last general election in 2017 saw a voter turnout of around 90 per cent.

We can analyse and discuss the reason behind the turnout ad eternum, but this election was a little bit different for Malta. It was the first time that 16- and 17-year-olds voted after the voting age was lowered from previously 18 years. Some would say this age group tends to be the least interested in participating in local politics. Others would disagree. But what is certain is that following successive Labour legislatures which have brought prosperity and stability to our country, many have taken life in Malta for granted and become apathetic, or probably assumed their vote does not make that much of a difference.

Public participation is the lifeblood of a democracy. We might be safe for now, but a lower turnout can become a significant issue for our country if we don’t take notes for the future. This week, Prime Minister (PM) Robert Abela announced the new cabinet of ministers, which also turns out to be the youngest one in Maltese history. The average age amongst us is 43, with the youngest minister being 34.

It is also the first election that will employ the gender-corrective mechanism resulting in significantly more women elected in parliament: another progressive move by the Labour government. In selecting the cabinet, the PM also included all the directly elected women within cabinet. More might join in soon following the results of the casual elections and this mechanism, which has not been applied by the time of writing.

Labour had a manifesto of 1,000 proposals. I would say the most progressive proposals this country has ever seen, with a focus on environment, mental health, equality, social matters at the forefront. These were very well received by the electorate not only because they are solid, costed, and important measures: but because Labour has the credibility to implement them.

While the Covid-19 pandemic tore apart other countries and destroyed economies, Malta remained resilient, and our economy continued to prosper. We managed to tackle the most significant global threats and challenges in the best way possible. This is why it comes as no surprise that the majority of the electorate chose to trust Labour. But we should still ask why a portion of it was not ready to do so – or not even leave their home to vote.

For the next elections, we need to continue to be the progressive force in our country, and we need to continue getting out the vote. But even placing Labour’s credibility aside – I believe that in Malta, the conservative voice is continuing to fade. This is not something that as progressives we should take for granted, but we can learn from it. The people do want positive change, they do want equality, improved social wellbeing, a focus on the quality of life for everyone. They do care about climate change, and about living in an inclusive society. And they do want economic and social regeneration, stability, and placing mental health on par with physical health.

So perhaps it comes as no surprise that this election gave the main party in opposition – the Nationalist Party – the worst result since the 1950s. It has not managed to get the electorate to identify with its ideals. And (perhaps as one would expect from a conservative party) it has been too resistant to change. This could also be one of the reasons why we saw a higher vote for third parties, particularly those on the fringe.

While I would have wished to see a stronger opposition for the sake of the health of our democracy, I am glad that the progressive party is back in government, with a strong mandate to continue improving our country and making bold decisions towards a brighter future for all.

And I am proud to be a part of it. The important thing is that we don’t take our success for granted.

Photo credits: Partit Laburista


Related articles:

A third landslide victory for Malta’s Labour Party, by Nikita Alamago

Find all related publications
Publications
01/03/2024

Next Left Vol. 15

Progressive Ambition: How to shape Europe in the next decade
24/01/2024

Progressive Yearbook 2024

Looking back to look ahead
10/10/2023

Next Left country case studies

Exploring the state of Social Democracy in France, Austria, Romania and Australia
04/10/2023

Social democracy without the people

Case study of the Polish Democratic Left Alliance (SLD)
Find all related events
Events
Upcoming
24/04/2024
Sofia, Bulgaria

Bulgarian Social Democracy on the path to renewal

Past
10/02/2023
Budapest, Hungary

What makes a party Left-Wing?

Training activity
19/01/2024
Vienna, Austria and Brussels, Belgium

European Political Academy

Find all related news
News
04/03/2024

FEPS at the PES Election Congress in Rome

19/12/2023

Call for tender – Research project manager

Research within the framework of the project 'Social democracy without people. On the sources of the popularity of authoritarian populism in Poland'
12/12/2023

FEPS Young Academics Network, Cycle 9

Call for new members - Extended until 14 February 2024
23/06/2023

Call for tender – research and project coordination

This call for tender closed on 23/07/2023
Find all related in the media
In the media

Durchhalten ist nicht unmöglich

by Frankfurter Hefte 06/12/2023
'Persevering is not impossible' Article by Ania Skrzypek, FEPS Director for Research and Training, on the future of social democracy in Europe

Total honesty and far-right lies

by IPS Journal 04/12/2023
Dive into the insightful analysis published in IPS Journal by Tom Theuns, Assist. Prof at Leiden University, and László Andor, FEPS Secretary General, examining the Dutch election results and the conclusions that need to be drawn for a successful EU Integration

Sluta tro att SD-männen bara skojar om politiken

by AFTONBLADET 30/05/2023
'Stop thinking that the SD men are just joking about politics. When changes happen, they happen at lightning speed' Ania Skrzypek interviewed in this Swedish article about the Polish case

Polacy nieufni i “wyjątkowi” – “popandemiczne” badanie w UE

by TOK FM 22/05/2023
'Poles distrustful and "exceptional" - "post-pandemic" survey in the EU' TOK FM. Interview with Ania Skrzypek, FEPS Director for Research and Training, about the results of FEPS' European survey in six EU countries and the 'uniqueness' of the responses of the Polish people.