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MALTATODAY 10 October 2021

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4 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 10 OCTOBER 2021 NEWS PUBLIC CONSULTATION Submit your opinion or suggestions on the published document proposing an investment of €29 million. EUROPEAN MARITIME, FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE FUND 1. Fostering sustainable fisheries and the restoration and conservation of aquatic biological resources; 2. Fostering sustainable aquaculture activities, and processing and marketing of fisheries and aquaculture products, thus contributing to food security in the Union. Consultation document may be downloaded from: Send your submissions to : by the 22nd October 2021 EMFAF for Malta 2021-2027 is a programme co-funded by the European Union. European Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020 Co-financing rate: 80% European Union; 20% National Funds PAUL COCKS UNPUBLICISED changes to the Nationalist Party's leader- ship election system mean that outsiders with core opposition within party ranks – as in the case of former leader Adrian De- lia – would have a more difficult time winning in the future, Mal- taToday has learned. The PN's General Council will be utilising a single trans- ferible vote system for the first time when selecting the two candidates to present to party members in the next election for party leader. To date, if more than two candidates contested a leader- ship election, General Council members used a first-past- the-post system to select the two final candidates, by in- dicating their one preference on their ballot sheet. The two candidates with the most votes would then be voted upon by all eligible party members in the General Convention. Under the new system, Gen- eral Council members will now be able to indicate their pref- erence for all the candidates contesting the leadership race, by marking 1, 2, 3 etc. on the ballot sheet. A senior party official con- firmed the changes in the elec- tion method were approved and adopted by the General Council. "The single preference vote system used in the past could produce a deceptive majority, in that a candidate might have secured the first preference of a number of council members but would not necessarily have been a second or third or fourth choice for others," he said. "The single transferable vote system will be fairer, ensuring that the two candidates pre- sented the party members are truly representative of the pref- erences of the General Con- vention." This is correct in that the STV is a system designed to form consensus behind the most popular candidates and to avoid wasting votes. Each General Council mem- ber will now mark their ballot for the most preferred candi- date and will also be able to mark back-up preferences. A vote goes to the voter's first preference if possible, but if the first preference is elimi- nated, instead of being thrown away, the vote is transferred to a back-up preference, with the vote being assigned to the voter's second, third, or lower choice if possible. The least popular candidate will be eliminated and their votes will be transferred based on voters' marked back-up preferences. Eliminations, and vote trans- fers where applicable, will con- tinue until there are only two candidates remaining, at which point they will go on to face a party-wide vote. In the past, most often than not, the candidate with the least votes in the General Council election would imme- diately withdraw from the race, prompting another election among the remaining candi- dates, and so on until only two candidates remained. "This was time consuming and exhaustive," a party official said. "With the STV, we will ensure that all members' pref- erences are actually accounted for." But many are concerned that under the new system, it will be difficult – if not impossible – for an outsider with no par- ty-wide support to make it to the final ballot sheet. "With council members now voting multiple preferences, they will surely choose estab- lished party officials, MPs or insiders over any outsiders," one disgruntled General Coun- cil member, who sits on the party's sectional committee on the 11th district, said. "If this system was in place in 2017, the party would have managed to keep Adrian Delia out of facing the vote by the tesserati, since council mem- bers who opposed him would have given their preferences to the other three candidates leaving him only with the first- count votes from his support- ers." Another general council member agreed that it would be more difficult for an out- sider to become leader in the future unless they enjoyed party-wide consensus or were publicly backed by a number of senior party officials and standing MPs. "No wonder no one seems to be talking about these chang- es," she said. "This is a Machi- avellian move, aimed at closing the door to dissenting outsid- ers without appearing to block their candidature in any man- ner." PN's election change 'closes door' to outsider bids for leader The STV could use a block-vote to prevent outsider bids like Adrian Delia's from upsetting establishment candidates

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