Malta election results [FWD]

Sat Sep 12 18:54:47 PDT 1998

Note the turnout rate and the switch of seats as a result of the STV p.r.
Nationalist to form cabinet after Malta election

VALLETTA, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Nationalist Party leader Eddie Fenech Adami
prepared to form a new government on Monday after being sworn in as Malta's
new prime minister less than two years after he was forced out of power. 

A huge crowd of flag waving supporters greeted the new 64-year-old prime
minister as he emerged from the president's palace in Valletta on Sunday. He
waved back, carrying his six-year-old grandson, Julian. 

The election was called three years early after the Labour government of
Alfred Sant lost its one-seat parliamentary majority when former prime
minister and Labour party leader Dom Mintoff, 82, voted against it in a
confidence vote. 

Sant conceded defeat at five p.m. local time (1500 GMT) 10 minutes after
Fenech Adami, who was prime minister for nine years until he was ousted by
Sant in the 1996 election, claimed victory. 

Fenech Adami said after his swearing in that his first priority would be to
reduce water and electricity rates, widely seen as the spark which caused the
Labour government's demise. 

The rates were increased steeply in November as the government sought to
reduce a growing budget deficit. Mintoff charged that the party he had led for
35 years was no longer socialist and had lost its social soul. 

``We have to put the people's mind at rest and deliver them from their
nightmare of higher water and electricity bills,'' Fenech Adami said. 

He added that another priority of the new government would be to reactivate
Malta's application to join the European Union, submitted in 1990 and frozen
by Sant in 1996. 

The Nationalist government wants formal membership talks with the EU, after
which the results will be submitted to a referendum. 

Official election results had not been issued by Sunday night but Fenech Adami
said the Nationalists had won a majority of over 51 percent and would have a
five seat majority in the 65-member parliament. Election turnout was 95

The Nationalist Party has promised to boost the Maltese economy through
domestic demand, and to introduce a new system of indirect taxation to reduce
business costs in an effort to encourage investment. 

A new cabinet is expected to be sworn in on Monday or Tuesday. 

Fenech Adami, a lawyer, contested his first general election in 1962 and has
been leader of the Nationalist Party since 1977. A devout Catholic who hears
Mass every day, he is the father of five adult children. 

18:28 09-06-98 

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