A sample count of ballots on Sunday showed Labour having a majority of more than 30,000 votes, equivalent to nearly 10 percent of the electorate.

“It is clear that the people have chosen to stay the course,” said Muscat, who called the snap vote to counter allegations of corruption against his wife and some of his political allies.

Muscat, who has been prime minister since 2013, went to the polls a year after his wife was accused of being the beneficial owner of a secret Panamanian shell company used to bank unexplained payments from Azerbaijan’s ruling family.

His chief of staff and a government minister have separately admitted having their own, previously undeclared Panama-registered companies, following revelations from last year’s massive data leak from the Mossack Fonseca legal firm based in the Central American country.

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