Malta’s government is set for a major shake-up with the arrival of MEP Miriam Dalli in parliament. However, her exit from the European stage has opened up the door for a new face to join the EU Parliament.
Dalli was immensely popular in the EU, garnering the most first-count votes in 2019’s MEP elections. A casual election will soon take place with Dalli’s ballots be reopened to determine the winner.
It seems that Cyrus Engerer is the front runner to take her spot. In 2019, Engerer inherited 2,200 votes from Dalli, the most out of any of the remaining candidates eligible to contest.
Donkey-voting would also work in his favour. By sheer alphabetical supremacy, Engerer’s name is directly below Dalli’s on the ballot sheet.
Engerer started his political career within the Nationalist Party, serving as the party’s deputy mayor in Sliema before switching the Labour Party amid 2011’s divorce referendum.
He was one of the favourites to get elected as an MEP in the 2014 European Election. However, he stepped aside after he was handed a suspended sentence in a revenge porn case.
Engerer was appointed as former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s special envoy in Brussels, stepping down in May 2018.
Engerer’s closest competition is likely to be Felix Busuttil. Busuttil received about 4,000 first-count votes less than Engerer but was able to inherit 699 votes from Dalli.
Busuttil, a well-known dancer and choreographer, has long been a vocal advocate for LGBT+ rights, but he stepped into the political scene in mid-2017 when he spoke at a Labour mass meeting in Naxxar.
More recently he landed himself in hot water after he took to Facebook to condemn a group of migrants who were squatting on the outskirts of Valletta.
Also in the running is Josef Caruana, the former L-Orizzont Editor turned OPM communications aide. Caruana has regularly been subject to criticism for his role in sharing fake news in relation to the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and other forms of intimidation. He took 458 of Dalli’s votes.
BOV Director James Grech, former MP Joseph Sammut, and Lorna Vassallo could also steal the spot if the casual election goes in their favour.
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