Democratic Alternative (Malta)

Democratic Alternative (Maltese: Alternattiva Demokratika), sometimes referred to as AD – The Green Party,[4] was a green[1] political party in Malta. The party was initially founded by a coalition of former Labour Party members and environmental activists in 1989. On 1 August 2020 the party announced a plan to merge with the Democratic Party to form a new party called AD+PD.[5] The merger was conducted on 17 October 2020.

Democratic Alternative
Alternattiva Demokratika
LeaderCarmel Cacopardo
Founded1989 (1989)
Dissolved17 October 2020
Split fromLabour Party
Merged intoAD+PD
HeadquartersP.O. Box 38, Marsa MTP 1001, Malta
Youth wingADŻ Green Youth
IdeologyGreen politics[1]
Political positionCentre-left to left-wing
European affiliationEuropean Green Party
International affiliationGlobal Greens
Colours  Green and   yellow


Alternattiva Demokratika was founded in 1989 when former Malta Labour Party President Toni Abela and former Labour MP and Parliamentary whip Wenzu Mintoff joined a number of environmental activists to form the new political party. Abela and Mintoff had resigned their posts in protest at the presence of certain elements in the Labour Party tainted with political violence and corruption. For this Abela and Mintoff were expelled from the Labour Party. Mintoff retained his seat in Parliament and, between 1989 and 1992 was effectively an MP for the new party as well as its first Chairperson.

Alternattiva Demokratika first stood for the 1992 national elections when it obtained 1.69% of first preference votes (their best result in a general election until 2013) and no seats. In the subsequent elections of 1996 and 1998 the Party's share of the vote declined. Following the 1998 result, Abela and Mintoff resigned and returned to the Labour Party (Abela was to be elected Labour's Deputy Leader in 2008).

Harry Vassallo replaced Mintoff as Chairperson of the Party in 1999. In 2003 the party campaigned for a Yes vote in the referendum on membership in the European Union. In the election that year the Party obtained only 0.7% of first preference votes having campaigned for second preference votes in order to secure the earlier refendum result and Malta's entry into the European Union. In 2004 the party obtained a remarkable result in the European Parliament election with 9.33% of first preference votes cast and the party's candidate, Arnold Cassola narrowly failing to be elected as MEP.

In the Maltese general election of 2008, the party increased its share of the vote to 1.31%. After ten years at the helm, Vassallo resigned as Chairperson and was replaced by Cassola. Barely a year later Cassola handed his resignation following the Party's poor showing at the European Parliament Election in June 2009. Cassola was replaced by Michael Briguglio in October 2009 but returned to the helm following Briguglio's resignation in 2013. Carmel Cacopardo was elected to lead in 2017.

In the general election of 2013, Alternattiva Demokratika obtained its best ever result with 5,506 votes (1.8%) in total across all districts where they ran candidates but failed to win a seat in parliament. The party's best result was in District 10[6] where then party leader Michael Briguglio received 741 first preference votes and a further 154 transfers before being eliminated after the 17th count. The quota for that district was 3,679 votes.[7] After the election some Democratic Alternative supporters claimed this raised a number of issues regarding representation. Talks are expected to take place during a constitutional convention with regards to addressing anomalies with the current Maltese electoral system.[citation needed]

Alternattiva Demokratika entered into preliminary coalition negotiations with the Nationalist Party in April 2017 to determine if they could cooperate to unseat the Labour government.[8] The talks broke down when AD's proposal of a coalition running under a separate name, 'Qawsalla' ("Rainbow"), with a new policy platform was rejected by the Nationalists, who were willing to form the coalition only if AD candidates ran under the Nationalist ticket.[9]


In the 1990s, Alternattiva Demokratika had its own newspaper publication, Alternattiva, whose editor in chief from 1989 until 1991 was Harry Vassallo, and its own radio station, Capital Radio.


Electoral history

House of Representatives elections

Election Leader Votes  % Seats +/– Position Government
1992 Wenzu Mintoff 4,186 1.7
0 / 65
New 3rd extra-parliamentary
1996 Wenzu Mintoff 3,820 1.5
0 / 69
0 3rd extra-parliamentary
1998 Wenzu Mintoff 3,209 1.2
0 / 65
0 3rd extra-parliamentary
2003 Harry Vassallo 1,929 0.7
0 / 65
0 3rd extra-parliamentary
2008 Harry Vassallo 3,810 1.3
0 / 69
0 3rd extra-parliamentary
2013 Michael Briguglio 5,506 1.8
0 / 69
0 3rd extra-parliamentary
2017 Arnold Cassola 2,564 0.8
0 / 67
0 4th extra-parliamentary

European parliamentary elections

Election Party leader Votes  % Seats +/– Position
2004 Harry Vassallo 22,938 9.33
0 / 5
New 3th
2009 Arnold Cassola 5,802 2.34
0 / 5
2014 Arnold Cassola 7,418 2.95
0 / 6
2019 Carmel Cacopardo 1,866 0.72
0 / 6

See also


  1. Nordsieck, Wolfram (2017). "Malta". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  2. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. "AD submits party registration documents to Electoral Commission". The Malta Independent. 27 June 2016. Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  5. "Malta's small parties to merge". Times of Malta. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  6. "General Election 2013 - District 10". Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  7. "General Election 2013 Results". Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  8. "PN-AD coalition talks hit a snag". Times of Malta. 28 April 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  9. "'No coalition': PN-AD talks break down as parties refuse to budge on demands". Times of Malta. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2017.