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MW 7 June 2017

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WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT WEDNESDAY EDITION €1.00 Newspaper post PAGE 9 • Editorial WEDNESDAY • 7 JUNE 2017 • ISSUE 541 • PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AND SUNDAY Extraordinary spike in government jobs in Gozo before election SAVIOUR BALZAN GOZO registered a remarkable Labour majority in last Satur- day's general election and saw the Labour share of the vote rise by two per cent… a success that paralleled by an incred- ible spike in government jobs in Gozo before the election, Mal- taToday can confirm. This is not the first time that politics in Gozo have been as- sociated with jobs for votes on an island where the power of incumbency plays an im- portant element in the voting trends in the 13th district. A Labour party candidate who insisted on remaining anonymous told MaltaToday that before the election, dozens of Gozitans were recruited by the government and employed either with Gozo Channel, or as care workers, security person- nel or labourers. Specifically, the workers have been employed by third-party contractors to State-owned en- terprises. The source blamed the em- ployment spree on the Gozo ministry and said other Labour candidates and, of course, PN candidates, could not really compete on a level playing field. "We can only talk about this now, because many Gozitans would have held it against us if we had complained of jobs for votes. "But the fact is that at a cer- tain point throughout the campaign, scores of workers left private-sector employment for the new jobs, leaving some employers guessing what had prompted their departure." The Labour party, which scored a 51.1% share of the vote from 49.1% in 2013, elected three candidates – Gozo min- ister Anton Refalo was elected on the first count with 4,853 votes. He was followed by Justyne Caruana, also an advocate, who collected 3,189 first count votes – she has served as Parliamen- tary secretary for the elderly. The final and third candidate was Architect Clint Camill- eri, who received 2,466 votes. He is a new face to the House, with incumbent eye specialist Franco Mercieca failing to get elected, receiving 1,853 first count votes. The same source said that even some traditional Giovan- na Debono voters voted Labour and for Anton Refalo. The Nationalist party elected former justice minister Chris Said with 4,642 first count votes, and Marthese Portelli with 2,622 votes. The quota for the 13th district stood at 4,306. Dozens of Gozitans were recruited by the government and employed with Gozo Channel Marlene Farrugia elected, doesn't rule out PN leadership bid TIM DIACONO FORMER Labour MP and Partit Demokra- tiku leader Marlene Farrugia is the first MP from a third party to be elected to Par- liament in 55 years, albeit under the PN ticket. Although Farrugia already represented PD in the last nine months in Parliament, the last time a third party was elected was in 1962. In that election, Toni Pellegrini's Chris- tian Workers Party and Herbert Ganado's Democratic Nationalist Party elected four candidates each while Mabel Strickland won a seat for her Progressive Constitu- tional Party. Farrugia battled PN incumbents Karl Gouder and George Pullicino to take a seat on the 10th district, and be elected on the PN-PD ticket. As Marlene Farrugia entered the Naxxar counting hall along with her partner and former PL MP Godfrey Farrugia – who failed to get elected as a PD candidate this election – she was greeted by a chorus of the Carnival anthem and "Viva l-Labour" from a group of PL supporters and count- ing agents. Busuttil tells PN supporters to be proud, new leader by September JURGEN BALZAN PN leader Simon Busuttil told party supporters yesterday evening that they should hold their heads high and be proud of being Maltese and Nationalists. "With conviction and determina- tion, for the love of our country, we will never give up. Be proud more than ever before of being Maltese and Nationalists and representing what the party stands for," he said. In what will surely go down as one of his most memorable speeches as PN leader, Busuttil told the hun- dreds of supporters in front of him that he will be in charge of the party until a new leader is in place. "I will remain here, I will be here with you, till the very last moment until a new leader is chosen. You can put your mind at rest, there will be no void. Things will be done prop- erly and transparently. We will not abandon the party, until a new lead- ership is in place. We will ensure that the party functions, we will give you a voice and we will make sure that the opposition is strong." PAGE 5 PAGE 7

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