28 Feb. - 6 March 2001

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Nationalist party worried over March elections
Local council elections in full swing

The Nationalist party is looking at the local council elections as a barometer of its present popularity. But many Nationalist at the stamperija, as the PN HQ is affectionately called, are worried that dissatisfaction at the PN's record and euro-scepticism may show up in the 10 March election.

The Nationalist campaign is spearheaded by the Prime Minister, Dr Eddie Fenech Adami, who is still on a high after his victory in the recent La Salle saga, while the MLP campaign is pioneered by the triumvirate leadership at the MLP.

The PN is gauging the local council election outcome as an indicator of public opinion prior to the run up the European Union referendum.

The Labour party has tried to minimise the ‘barometer' link to the council elections and indeed the MLP secretary general in a comment confirmed this by saying that the Nationalist party was attempting to link the local elections with the national political barometer.

On Saturday 10 March, the residents of 23 localities will be going to the polls. This will include the towns and villages of Vittoriosa, Qormi, Siggiewi, Attard, Birzebbugia, Floriana, Gzira, Gharghur, Hamrun, Kercem, Lija, Marsaxlokk, Munxar, Paola, Qala, Safi, San Lawrenz, Santa Lucija, Swieqi, Xaghra, Mosta, and Zebbug (Gozo).

An item on the agenda that is constantly raised by both parties is the European Union question. And the vote on the 10 March is bound to be used by both parties to blow air into their own respective sails.

The minister responsible for local council elections, Austin Gatt, said he supported the theory that the popularity of the government of the day had a bearing on voting patterns.

When asked about voter turnout for the local council elections, the minister said that he was optimistic, both in terms of candidates running for elections, and in terms of voter turnout.

And normally, the aftermath of local council elections usually includes cries of victory by both the MLP and the PN.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt