Indeed. A large number of voter abstentions came from the Northern harbour districts. Although the country is in desperate need of normality, which could have been provided by the PN with all its faults, still many people from an upper-middle-class background refused to vote for PN. There is a very obvious reason for this. The Labourite who is disgruntled with the Labour Party would still vote Labour despite his or her disgruntlement. The upper-middle-class voter may have a more uncompromising view.
One has to consider the class issues and the historical background to understand why this happens. I had once penned an article for MaltaToday which actually explained this. The social, political and economic experience of Labourites in the 1960s made them create a society unto their own in order to survive politically, socially and economically. It is in this way that Labour persevered. And this has been a similar story all over Europe given that the working class could never achieve its political goals without being united. In contrast, the upper-middle class, never experienced a situation where earning a means of income would have meant necessarily emigrating to Australia to get a job. Sure, you would have probably been bored in Malta with the idiosyncratic and mundane opportunities, however, that’s a very different situation from someone who has to emigrate just to literally survive.
This is also why the Nationalist Party did’t find any problem in selling one of its most precious assets: their social club in Saint Julians. They don’t have a sense of community so strong which at times becomes a network of survival. They don’t need it. They have their own money and Summer houses in foreign countries. A proposal to sell a social club made in the Labour Party would probably be met with a figurative beating. There would be no way the Labour Party with sell its social clubs. Labour’s social clubs are strong hubs of activity and also sources of revenue. They are regularly meeting points for their members and they host many events. Labour social clubs are a lively place of community.
The Nationalists are a bit fucked because the traditional social class which has always backed it isn’t motivated to support its traditional party as much as the working class is. Rich people can afford to abstain from voting because if Attila the Hun takes over, they can hit on their yachts and flee to their Summer homes in Greece. However, for Labourites, Robert Abela can be a €28,000 a month Gonzi-rent-seeking-Nationalist-servant, and they would still vote for him because the spirit of the Party will compel him to raise their pensions, no matter what. And there is another thing. I rather doubt the Nationalist Party is going to change in a radical way. The Nationalist Party can not survive without its conservative component and mediating this conservative component with the liberal side seems to be impossible especially when the conservative side is very strongly represented by Adrian Delia. I do think that the Nationalist Party is fucked in various ways.
I don’t think the Nationalist Party is going away though so this is not a pessimistic rant about the Nationalist Party, I’m rather being realistic. I do however foresee the possibility of a new party coming into the scene which could grow to the extent of eventually leading a coalition government.
There are 50,000 votes up for grabs. And counting.