Few would have blamed the Maltese electorate had they followed the majority of their European brethren and showed a marked apathy towards the 2004 EP elections. In less than a year they had been bombarded by a highly polarised and politicised referendum campaign, followed almost immediately by a highly tense general election revolving around the issue of EU membership. Most Maltese were simply relieved when it was all over. Although turnout was markedly lower than in general elections – 82 per cent compared to 96 per cent at the last general election1 – it was still the third highest in the EU,2 even though voters had to elect only five MEPs, the smallest quota for any EU state, a fact that rankled some and became a campaign issue for others.
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