Voters in Malta turned out in force on Friday (17 September) in a bitterly-contested general election to decide whether to return the pro-third world Labour Party or the opposition, pro-Europe Nationalist Party.
GV Grand Harbour, Valletta, Malta.
GVS Election posters for Labour Party and opposition Nationalist Party. (4 shots)
GV PAN AND SV Voters lining up outside polling station. (2 shots)
SV Voters entering polling station.
SVS INT. Election officers handing out and collecting voting papers. (3 shots)
Initials VS 2.35
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Background: Voters in Malta turned out in force on Friday (17 September) in a bitterly-contested general election to decide whether to return the pro-third world Labour Party or the opposition, pro-Europe Nationalist Party.
SYNOPSIS: The tiny Mediterranean island is a strategic air force and naval base covering both Europe and the Middle East -- and being pulled both ways by the larger powers on either side of it. Some of the 220,000 voters were queuing several hours before the polling stations opened. The results were expected to be close. The last election saw Prime Minister Dom Mintoff's Labour Party elected by a majority of one -- although an opposition defection later raised this to three.
Mr. Mintoff created a crisis on the island four years ago when he ordered Britain to evacuate its armed forces bases -- later relenting in return for higher rents. But that agreement expires in three years time -- and with it goes some GBP36 million in rent, and indirect spending power. Opposition leader Dr. Borg Oliver would like to see the bases retained -- either rented to Britain or to NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. But Mr. Mintoff wants to develop his ties with the non-aligned world - chiefly Libya and China.