Car horns blared and flags were waved along the water front in Sliema a Sunday evening in May.
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Dark flags with a white and red shield hanged from cars, were knotted around wrists and worn as capes. The crowd was young, loud and jubilant some leaning out of cars shouting as the vehicles snailed along the jam packed thoroughfare. As a first time visitor to the island it appeared that a football game had just ended and a mob of fans flooded the street basking in the light of victory. But the football season was over a month ago so this was something different. By closer inspection the flags also read P.N in the left and right bottom corner respectively. A bit of Googling returned the initials of the National Party (Partit Nazzjonalista) and this was party central of the Christ Democrat Center-Right party campaigning Maltese style. One woman shouted through the window of a compact car, “We will have a change of Government” a flag in her left hand a cigarette and can of beer in the right. Literal party time.
From above the eighties anthem “The final countdown” by Swedish glam rockers Europe filled the air as a buoyant crowd sang along from the top of a double decker tour bus. The “hop-on hop-off” tourist bus was redressed for the occasion with large banners filled with smiling candidate’s faces and party slogans. Here and there EU and rainbow flags indicating EU friendly policies as well as acceptance of same sex views. It was the last week of campaigning before the election on the 3rd of June, six days away. Miles away the sentiments were probably equally jubilant, yet opposite, as the currently governing party the Social Democrats were holding their rally outside the stone walls of the historic capital Valetta.
After a “Silent Day” with no campaigning the day before the election all that remain is to count the ballots.
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