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‘Quieter than Malta’: PN MP Ryan Callus in UK for election observer mission

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Malta may have inherited a lot of political idiosyncrasies from the British, but the two countries’ approach to the general election is more on the dissimilar side.

Last Saturday, Nationalist MP Ryan Callus was appointed Deputy Head of Mission of a team of observers to see how the UK general election is being run on the ground.

And today, the day the UK hits the polls, Callus is roaming around London with a team of observers to watch the voting day play out.

“The British democracy is very modern and has lots of safeguards,” Callus told MaltaToday between polling station visits. “We don’t come here because it’s imperfect but because they are always working to improve their system.”

Callus noted various differences between election day in the UK and that in Malta. In the British polling stations, there are no signs of police. Even candidates and canvassers are notably missing.

Meanwhile, the ballot sheets are much shorter in the UK. “It’s not like in Malta, where you have several candidates put forward by the same party,” Callus said. “The list is much smaller, with a single candidate from each party, so roughly seven in all.”

For Callus, a more prominent distinction was observed outside of the polling stations. “Generally, there’s no sense of an election. There are no billboards or posters like you would see in Malta. It’s more of a normal day.”

London’s polling stations have been quiet throughout the day, but Callus said this is normal as most people go out to vote in the evening after work hours. “That’s when we would expect larger crowds.”

Parliamentarians from several Commonwealth and British Isles countries are taking part in this mission. These MPs are split into eight teams and sent to visit polling stations and speak to election officials and political representatives to see how the election is run in those locations.

Callus was assigned to the London zone with another team. He noticed that the polling stations in the area are situated closely to each other, almost within walking distance. “I think they do this so that anyone who wants to walk to their polling station can do this quickly.”

It also seems that foreign policy is high on the voter priority list for Londoners. Callus noticed the Palestinian flag ganging in several balconies throughout the day. “It’s an issue that seems to hold more importance here in this election, maybe because of the number of immigrants that live here.”

He explained to MaltaToday that these flags were ordered to be removed yesterday, but some of them were put back up anyways.

Today’s UK election sees Labour’s Keir Starmer on the cusp of a supermajority with a 20-point lead over the Conservative Party. This could see Labour win a 200-seat majority.

READ ALSO | Starmer’s supermajority: How a bland leader is set to win big

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