Maltese vote paves way for EU entry
Malta has secured its place in the European Union after it voted to re-elect the pro-EU Nationalist Party, in Saturday's general election.
The keenly contested election prompted 96% of the eligible voters to turn out on Saturday (12 April) - although such high participation is common in Maltese general elections.
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The result was close. Preliminary figures show that the incumbent Nationalist Party, obtained 51% of the votes while the Labour Party got 47% - a difference of more than 10,000 votes.
Labour leader, Alfred Sant, who is in favour of a partnership agreement with the EU, had stated before the election that if he won, he would not have signed the Accession Treaty next Wednesday, in Athens.
"The Nationalist Party has obtained an absolute majority. We respect the people's decision", Alfred Sant said after the preliminary results were known.
Celebrations by Nationalist supporters had already started early on Sunday morning.
"There is no doubt that this result means that Malta has a new spring ahead of it," Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami said.
This election follows a month after the contested referendum on EU membership held on 8 March.