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MALTATODAY 30 January 2022

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4 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 30 JANUARY 2022 NEWS Thank you... for having bought this newspaper The good news is that we're not raising the price of our newspaper We know times are still hard, but we have pledged to keep giving our readers quality news they deserve, without making you pay more for it. So thank you, for making it your MaltaToday Support your favourite newspaper with a special offer on online PDF subscriptions. Visit or scan the QR code Subscriptions can be done online on Same-day delivery at €1 for orders up to 5 newspapers per address. Subscribe from €1.15 a week Same-day print delivery from Miller Distributors mt ROBERT Abela stated the ob- vious when he told reporters on Wednesday that the elec- tion will be over by June. His administration's term ends in June and although it is legally possible to hold an elec- tion at the latest possible date in September 2022, nobody is expecting the Prime Minister to go that far. It would mean a three-month long electoral campaign bang in the middle of summer. The more realistic possibil- ities are March, May or June. When the election is held remains the Prime Minister's sole prerogative and it appears that even within his own party people are unable to read his mind. Trying to guess the date has been an ongoing exercise for the past year or so, making it somewhat of a conversation filler in bars, family gatherings and seated weddings. For the election pundits, here is a quick run-through of the possible dates for an election, when parliament would have to be dissolved and the bene- fits and risks Abela will juggle before choosing the date. The shortest electoral cam- paign can be 33 days but given the tradition of holding gener- al elections on a Saturday this may be slightly longer. KURT SANSONE Conversation filler: Robert Abela's election options When will the election be held? Kurt Sansone gives a run- through of possibilities for your conversation filler among friends and family The news that Pope Francis is slated to visit Malta on 2 and 3 April has effectively ruled out April for an election. Abela may want to avoid having another 'Joseph Muscat incident' derailing an election campaign. Prolonging the election date increases that risk 12 March election Parliament will have to be dis- solved on 7 February This is the first possible date available to the Prime Minister, which means parliament only has one more week to go before the announcement. With polls in his favour and the post-Christmas COVID pandemic surge gradually com- ing under control, Abela may opt to get the elec- tion over and done with. COVID measures will start being lifted on 7 February for res- taurants and 14 February for bars, which will give the sector some re- prieve. But the r e l a x a t i o n of the vac- cine certif- icate rules will also give rise to claims of discrimination from nightclub owners and event organisers since these will still be subjected to vaccine restric- tions. This could create a nui- sance for Abela in the midst of an electoral campaign and would be an issue he will pon- der upon before deciding on 12 March. Abela may also want to avoid having another 'Joseph Mus- cat incident' derailing an election campaign. Prolonging the elec- tion date increases that risk. But 12 March could get into the way of prepa- rations for Pope Francis's visit on 2 April from a logistical per- spective and the build-up of en- thusiasm within church circles. Abela will not want to disrupt this event that could give him the chance as prime minister to appear alongside the Pope.

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