|Malta now appears set to join the EU following the return to power of the pro-European Nationalist Party at the weekend. Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami will now travel to Athens on Wednesday to sign the EU accession treaty along with the nine other candidate nations.
The PN gained a majority of over 51% from a very high turnout of 96%, in what was seen as the most crucial election in the country's history. The result has been interpreted as a confirmation of the yes vote in the EU referendum last month, and was described by Fenech Adami as a "double reality".
The Prime Minster hailed his victory as a "new spring" and speculated that the Labour Party, whose leader Alfred Sant campaigned vociferously against accession to the European Union, would be forced to re-evaluate its policies. For his part, Sant conceded defeat and said he respected the result. He stressed that his party will remain united, and will continue to campaign in the island's national interest.
The election result has brought to an end months of emotional and often bitter debate on the subject of EU membership.