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MaltaToday 30 March 2022 MIDWEEK

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9 NEWS ANALYSIS maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 30 MARCH 2022 of life for the Greens What future for the Greens? Despite a lacklustre campaign where the party struggled to get its message across, voters have given ADPD a new lease of life, probably rewarding it for its consistency on environmental issues. Following the resignation of Carmel Caco- pardo, the party will be expected to renew itself by putting a new generation of leaders at the helm. Much depends on whether the party can manage to attract civ- il society activists who can inject new life in the party. Following its merger with the PD, Alternattiva Demokratika has managed to reverse its decline from 2013 when the party peaked at 1.8%. One major factor in this election is that the PN was no longer contesting in coalition with the PD. In 2017 this could have been a major factor in AD losing nearly half its vote. And while the coalition between the PD and the PN is largely de- rided, the results suggest that the gap between PN and PL is now the same as in 2017 when PD votes are subtracted from the PN's vote share. This suggests that more voters were willing to put a peg on their nose to vote PN in coalition with the PD, than to vote for the PN alone. Another factor contributing to ADPD's relative success may have been that in the knowledge that Labour was the sure winner, more voters felt free to experiment with their vote. This suggests that La- bour's super-majorities create a situation favourable to third parties simply because potential third-party voters are less sus- ceptible to pressure by big par- ties, who blame them for wasting their vote and contributing to the defeat of the "lesser evil". In fact, third parties largely escaped the radar of the big parties, with the PN not resorting to its pre-elec- toral warnings against voting AD on the eve of every election prior to 2017. But in this election, the Greens also managed to make up for inev- itable losses in the 10th and 11th districts which were contested by Arnold Cassola, by making signif- icant gains in the seventh district where the party's votes have in- creased from 375 in 2013 to 510 in 2022. Compared to 2013, the party al- so made gains in Labour districts like the fourth districts where the party's share increased from 1.1% (254 votes) in 2013 to 1.7% (391 votes) now. In the 12th district AD has also recovered its 2013 vote share to get the party's best result (2.4%). And while the party still gets better results in northern districts, the party is now stronger in Labour-leaning areas. But despite surviving against all odds, the future of the Greens de- pends on them reinventing their long expired brand, especially in view of increased competition by new parties like Volt. The election rewarded the per- severance and strong character of former AD leader Arnold Casso- la, who got more than 2% in both districts he contested. It remains to be seen whether Cassola's per- formance will encourage more 'serious' independents to contest elections, or whether his vote will be re-absorbed by the Greens. Yet despite his positive perfor- mance, which was the best one for an independent candidate in post- war elections since 1952, Cassola fell short of AD's 2013 results on both his districts, where the party had surpassed the 700 mark. Cas- sola did manage to inherit a sig- nificant number of votes, includ- ing 138 from PN leader Bernard Grech, but was nowhere close to being elected. Arnold Cassola and Carmel Cacopardo

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