Below are a table and a graphic that give some detail regarding the fortunes of small parties in Malta. Both illustrate the virtual disappearance of smaller parties since 1962, the last election in which more than two parties were represented in Parliament. Different small parties have periodically contested elections in more recent elections -- such as the Democratic Party and Communist Party in 1987 and the Alternattiva Demokratika in from 1992 to 2008 -- but all without success.
The single-transferable-vote (STV) system does not create barriers to the entry and success of small political parties; but a constituency size of five seats does. Even a nation-wide 12% of the vote would not be sufficient for a party to gain represention in Parliament because a party must poll some 16% of the votes in a given district to obtain a seat.
The Gozo and Jones parties in 1947, with their exclusive basis in one district and with only a minimal share of the nation-wide vote, gained five seats. On the other hand, small parties with geographically dispersed supporters are destined to be unsuccessful.
It is the rare case when a small party manages to obtain a percentage of the seats that exceeds its percentage of the national vote, as the Maltese Workers Party did in 1950. The usual case is of a seat percentage for small parties which is much lower than the vote percentage.
Minor Parties Competing, 1947 - 2008
Note: "Minor party" is defined as a party polling less than 25% of the national vote. (Thereby, the PN is classified as a minor party for the 1947 election.)
Note: The Table below gives the parties' national vote and seat percentages, as well as the seats they won in specific districts. For the districts, a blank space indicates that the party did not present any candidates in the district; a zero indicates that the party's candidate(s) failed to win a seat there.
The Figure below shows the percentages of first-count votes obtained, cumulatively, by minor parties in each election since 1947.
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