THE COUNCIL

The seat of the Victoria Council is the Banca Giuratale at It-Tokk or Pjazza Indipendenza. It was built during the rule of the Knights of Saint John as the meeting place of the Jurats of the Universitas, the administrative Government of Gozo. The original building was erected on a design by the military engineer Francois de Mondion and inaugurated by the Governor of Gozo Pablo Antonio de Viguier in 1733. It had a very ornamental doorway upon which there was an inscription recording its inauguration and the whole was surmounted by the emblem of the Universitas which was abolished in 1818. In 1875 the British enlarged the Banca by rising a semi-circular façade in front of the older one. From then onwards it housed a host of Government Departments. It has now returned to its original objective by housing apart from a couple of government offices, the city’s Local Council.

The first election for the Victoria Local Council was held on 16 April 1994. Out of an estimated population of 6030, there were 4535 registered voters of which 25 were foreigners. The district was to return seven Councillors. Thirteen candidates contested the election, one for Alternattiva Demokratika, eight for the Nationalist Party and four Independent. A total of 3642 persons or 79.91% voted and the quota was 437. Four Nationalist candidates (55.38%) and three Independents (42.56%) were elected. AD got 72 votes (2.06%). The first sitting was held on 9th May 1994. The Councillors elected Victor Galea Pace as the first Mayor of Victoria and Joseph P Dimech s Vice Mayor. Late in 1996 Victor Galea Pace resigned on being elected to Parlament and, on 14 December 1996, Joseph P Dimech was elected Mayor in his stead whilst Mr Paul Galea was elected Deputy Mayor.

First Council: (From Left) Anton Zammit (Executive Secretary), Joseph Dimech, Joseph Debrincat, Lina Borg, Victor Camilleri, Paul Galea, Victor Galea Pace, Patrick Grima

The second election was held on 8th March 1997. Out of an estimated population of 6494, there were 4648 registered voters of which 46 were foreigners. Once again 13 candidates contested the election. A total of 3675 persons or 79.07% voted and the quota was 447. Four Nationalist candidates (55.07%) and three Independents (44.93%) were elected. The first sitting of the second Council was held on 1st April 1997 and the Councillors elected Paul Galea as the Mayor of Victoria and Fredrick Azzopardi as Vice-Mayor. As Mr Azzopardi was later elected as member of Parliament and resigned his seat in the Council. Mr Paul M Cassar was elected Deputy Mayor with effect from 8th October, 1998.

Second Council : (From Left) Frederick Azzopardi, Enzo Dimech, Victor Camilleri, Paul Galea, Joseph Debrincat, George Said, Paul M. Cassar, Anton Zammit (Executive Secretary)

The third election was held on 11th March 2000. Out of an estimated population of 6552, there were 4725 registered voters of which 55 were foreigners. 12 candidates contested the election. 3676 persons or 77.80% cast valid votes and the quota was 460. Four Nationalist candidates (59.25%) and three Malta Labour Party candidates (40.75%) were elected. The first sitting of the third Council was held on 3 April 2000 and the Councillors elected Paul M Cassar as Mayor and Josef Schembri as Vice Mayor. The other Councillors were Victor Camilleri, Spiru Formosa, Joseph Debrincat, Vivienne Galea Pace and Dr Anton Tabone LL.D.

Third Council : (From Left) Anton Tabone, Josef Schembri, Paul M. Cassar, Vivienne Galea Pace, Joseph Debrincat, Victor Camilleri, Spiru Formosa, Miriam Farrugia (Executive Secretary)

The fourth election was held on 8 March 2003. Out of an estimated population of 6600, there were 5173 registered voters. Nine candidates contested the election. 4566 or 88% voted. The number of valid votes was 4237 and the quota was 530. Five Nationalist candidates (65.3%) and two Malta Labour Party candidates (37.7%) were elected. The first sitting of the fourth Council was held on and the Councillors elected Mrs Vivienne Galea Pace as Mayor and Mr Josef Schembri as Vice Mayor. The other Councillors are Samuel Azzopardi, Victor Camilleri, Joe Debrincat, Anthony Hili and Dr Anton Tabone LL.D.

Fourth Council: (From Left) Anton Tabone, Joseph Debrincat, Vivienne Galea Pace, Victor Camilleri, Samuel Azzopardi, Josef Schembri, Paul M. Cassar, Anton Hili, Miriam Attard (Executive Secretary)

The fifth election was held on 11 March 2006. Out of an estimated population of 6600, there were 5456 registered voters. Ten candidates contested the election. 3899 (71.5%) votes were casted. The number of valid votes was 3550 and the quota was 444. Four Nationalist candidates (53.1%) and three Malta Labour Party candidates (38%) were elected. The Councillors elected are Mr. Robert Tabone as Mayor, Mr. Victor Galea Pace as Vice Mayor, together with Mr. Joe Debrincat, Mr. Josef Schembri, Ms. Josephine Cassar, Mr. Marcell Tabone and Mr. Michael Buttigieg as Councillors.

Fifth Council: (From Left) Michael Buttigieg, Marcell Tabone, Josephine Cassar, Josef Schembri, Joseph Debrincat, Robert Tabone, Anthony Zammit (Executive Secretary) - not in photo: Victor Galea Pace

The sixth election of the Victoria Local Council was held on the 6th of June 2009. Ten candidates presented themselves for the election, six on behalf of Partit Nazzjonalista (PN) and four on behalf of the Partit Laburista (PL).  Out of a population of 7,888 people, 5,679 were eligible to vote.  Out of 4530 votes cast, 4265 were valid and therefore the quota was 534.  The election was won by Partit Nazzjonalista which managed to garner 2489 votes (58.4%) whilst the Partit Laburista got 1776 votes (41.6%).  This result was reflected in four seats for Partit Nazzjonalista and three for Partit Laburista.

The elected councillors were: Dr Samuel Azzopardi who got the largest amount of votes and hence was elected as Mayor; Mr Robert Tabone who got the second largest amount of votes was elected as Vice-Mayor; the third elected councillor was Dr Michael Portelli; the fourth elected councillor was Joseph Debrincat; the fifthe elected councillor was Marcel Tabone; the sixth elected councillor  was Michael (Michel) Buttigieg and the seventh elected councillor was Josef Schembri.

On the 30th of June 2009 the seven councillors attended the swearing-in ceremony at the Office of the Prime Minister at the Auberge de Castille in Valletta.  During the first meeting held on the 1st of July 2009 the Mayor and Vice-Mayor formally accepted their posts and took the oath of office.

Mr Robert Tabone,  by means of a letter dated 16th July 2009 and addressed to the Secretary of the Council Mrs Miriam Attard resigned from Vice-Mayor and councillor.  Therefore the electoral process was once again initiated. On the 24th of July 2009 a Council meeting was held where the Mayor presented a motion to the Council so that according to Maltese Law Marcell Tabone could take the post of Vice Mayor.  The motion was approved unanimously.  Mr Marcell Tabone accepted the post and took the oath of office on the same day.

On the 17th of August the casual election was held and Mr Carmel Theuma was elected as Councillor. Mr Theuma took the oath as councillor on the 18th of August 2009.

The seventh election of the Victoria Local Council was held on the 9th of March 2013. Ten candidates presented themselves for the election, six on behalf of Partit Nazzjonalista (PN) and four on behalf of the Partit Laburista (PL).  Out of a population of 6,901 people, 5,917 (100%) were eligible to vote.  Out of 5,138 votes cast (86.8%), 4,946 (96.3%) were valid and therefore the quota was 619.  The election was won by Partit Nazzjonalista which managed to garner 3,003 votes (60.72%), an increase of 2.32% over the 2009 elections, whilst the Partit Laburista got 1,943 votes (39.28%), a decrease of 2.4% in comparison to the 2009 elections.  This result was reflected in four seats for Partit Nazzjonalista and three for Partit Laburista.

The elected councillors were: Dr Samuel Azzopardi who got the largest amount of votes (1,086 votes elected first count) and hence was elected as Mayor; Mr Josef Schembri who got the second largest amount of votes from the majority (529 votes elected second count) was elected as Vice-Mayor; the third elected councillor was Mr Joseph Debrincat (793 votes elected first count); the fourth elected councillor was Ms Maria Portelli (440 votes elected 3rd count); the fifth elected councillor was Mr Michael (Michel) Buttigieg (453 votes elected fifth count); the sixth elected councillor was Mr Anthony Briffa (448 votes elected sixth count); and the seventh elected councillor was Marcell Tabone (409 votes elected eight count).

On the 27th of March 2013 the seven councillors attended the swearing-in ceremony at the Office of the Prime Minister at the Auberge de Castille in Valletta.  During the first meeting held on the 2nd of April 2013 the Mayor and Vice-Mayor formally accepted their posts and took the oath of office.  Dr Samuel Azzopardi is the first Mayor of Victoria to be reconfirmed in office by the electorate.

 

On the 21st of April 2016 Mayor Dr Samuel Azzopardi informed the Council by reading a letter addressed to the Executive Secretary during a meeting that he was resigning his post of Mayor and suspending himself from Partit Nazzjonalista due to the possibility of arraignment in court by the Police in connection to a road accident were he refused to take the breathalyser test and a final decision will be taken after the court proceedings are concluding.  Subsequently Mr Josef Schembri and Ms Maria Portelli being the next two persons in line from the majority accepted and took the oath of office for Mayor and Vice-Mayor respectively. On the 14th of June 2016 the court proceedings were concluded and Partit Nazzjonalista withdrew the suspension of Dr Azzopardi from the party and nominated him again for the post of Mayor.  On the 17th of June 2016 during a council meeting, the Executive Secretary of the Council read out two letters of resignation of Mr Josef Schembri and Ms Maria Portelli from the posts of Mayor and Vice-Mayor respectively.  Subsequently Dr Samuel Azzopardi and Mr Joseph Schembri were nominated for the posts of Mayor and Vice-Mayor and they took the oath of office on Saturday 18th June 2016.

Due to changes in the electoral laws in 2015 the present term of office of the seventh local council which was due to expire in 2017 was extended till 2019.