The people of Malta go to the polls next Friday and Saturday (17 and 18 September), and it is expected that the election will produce a close result between the ruling Labour Party and the opposition Nationalist Party.
GV PAN DOWN Castille Palace (Prime Minister's Office) TO statue of Dimech in front of building
TV People in street
GV PAN Election posters plastered on walls. (3 shots)
GV PAN Libyan Cultural Centre building. (2 shots)
SV PAN Poster of Mintoff and Gaddafi on wall
SCU Mintoff speaking at open air meeting.(3 shots)
GV Crowd cheering and waving banners
SV Police motorcyclist along street and police van parked in stree
SCU Borg Oliver walking through crowd to microphone
SV PAN FROM Crowd cheering TO -Oliver speaking.
GV Crowd cheering and waving.
Initials VS 17.15 Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The people of Malta go to the polls next Friday and Saturday (17 and 18 September), and it is expected that the election will produce a close result between the ruling Labour Party and the opposition Nationalist Party.
SYNOPSIS: The Labour Party, led by Prime Minister, Dom Mintoff, ended nine years of Nationalist rule when they won a one-seat majority in the 1971 elections. This year, foreign and defence policies have emerged as major campaign issues. But whichever party wins, the future of the British military bases on the island seems strictly limited. Both sides say they will not renew the current leasing agreement, which expires in March 1979.
Mr. Mintoff's Government has been seeking to strengthen relations with Malta's Arab neighbours, among them Libya, led by Colonel Moammar Gaddafi. The Libyans have already established a cultural centre in Valetta, and Colonel Gaddafi has promised economic support for Malta when the agreement over the British bases ends in 3 years time.
On Sunday the Prime Minister, Mr. Mintoff, addressed a mass rally at Lija. His Labour Party has 89 candidates in the election, while the Nationalists, led by Dr. George Borg Oliver, has 80. The Labour Party's platform envisages guarantees of economic support and territorial integrity from any friendly nations that will respect Malta's desire to remain non-aligned from the major power blocs.
This would probably mean the end of Malta's participation in NATO. The Nationalist Party is following a similar line as regards the relationship with NATO. Dr. Borg Oliver, who addressed an election rally on Saturday at Qormi, has been concentrating on domestic issues during the campaign. But his party is also opposed to the presence in Malta of any foreign military bases.