Has Simon Busuttil made the difference for the PN? The Nationalist Party has hailed the results of the 2015 local councils, claiming the party has started to make inroads.
Despite Labour's convincing 54% win and major gains in Gozo, it appears that the PN has managed to consolidate most of its core localities, winning back St Paul's Bay, and score convincingly in southern towns from the fifth district.
The data shows that the turnout from the referendum benefited the PN in Attard, Balzan, Dingli, Swieqi, Haz-Zebbug, and Zurrieq.
It also improved vote counts in fifth district towns Birzebbugia, Zurrieq and Marsaxlokk, while consolidating its mayorships in St paul's Bay 9whcih it won back from Labour) and St Julian's.
Here's what the data shows.
All numbers are to be read as percentages.
• The PN increased its number of votes by over 13,000 over the same vote count it had in 2012 - an increase of 26.4% on average – Labour increased by 15.9%.
• In 12 localities whose turnout over the 2012 council elections increased by anything between 10-17 percentage points, suggesting increased motivation to vote over the 2012 elections in which the PN-in-government was at its lowest ebb, the PN increased its vote count by 32%, while Labour increased its vote count by 25%.
• Of these 12 localities, seven had PN-led councils, indicating that the turnout in the referendum on spring hunting benefited the Opposition.
• Top performances: The PN increased its vote count by anything over 40% of its 2012 votes in 10 councils: Attard (49%) Balzan (53%) Birzebbuga (73%) Dingli (52%) Gzira (45%) Marsaxlokk (59%) St Julian's (60%) St Paul's Baby (47%) Swieqi (68%) and Zurrieq (45%) – six of them were Labour-led.
• Labour increased its large vote share of 2012 by over 40% in four councils: Munxar (56.7%), Nadur (48.4%), Qala (58.1%) and iz-Zebbug (74.7%) – all of them Gozitan councils, and now confirming the direction the island has taken.
• In the 16 localities whose turnout was over 74% of registered votes, in ten councils the PN increased its vote share at a higher rate than Labour.
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