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Joseph Muscat Outgoing PM wins Malta election: preliminary count

The preliminary results showed a clear enough trend for Muscat, 43, to declare victory. "

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Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle Muscat prepare to vote at a polling station in his home town of Burmarrad on June 3, 2017 play

Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle Muscat prepare to vote at a polling station in his home town of Burmarrad on June 3, 2017

(AFP/File)

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Outgoing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has retained power in Malta after a general election overshadowed by corruption allegations against his Labour Party administration, a sample count of ballots showed Sunday.

The preliminary results showed a clear enough trend for Muscat, 43, to declare victory. "It is clear that the people have chosen to stay the course," he said as Labour supporters took to the streets in celebration.

The victory means there will be no major disruption to the business of the European Union, whose rotating presidency Malta holds until the end of his month.

Muscat, who has been premier since 2013, went to the polls a year early after his wife was implicated in one of a series of alleged corruption cases arising from the so-called Panama Papers data leak.

Malta Labour Party supporters celebrate the results of Malta's general election on June 4, 2017 at a polling station in Naxxar play

Malta Labour Party supporters celebrate the results of Malta's general election on June 4, 2017 at a polling station in Naxxar

(AFP)

He has denied any wrongdoing and promised to quit if any evidence emerges of his family having secret offshore bank accounts used to stash kickbacks -- as had been alleged by a high-profile blogger with a record of correctly highlighting previous scandals in the island nation.

Muscat had also come under fire for failing to sack his chief of staff Keith Schembri and government minister Konrad Mizzi after they were forced to admit to having had undeclared offshore companies set up for them by Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.

But the allegations had little impact amongst Labour's loyal base against a backdrop of a booming economy and the lowest unemployment the country of 430,000 people has ever known.

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