Nationalist Party supporters celebrate during an electoral mass rally in Floriana, Malta, June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
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Maltese voters head to the polls Saturday to deliver their verdict on a government hit by corruption allegations linked to the Panama papers scandal, but fortified by a booming economy.Opinion polls point to Joseph Muscat, the youthful Labour Party prime minister, retaining power. Muscat called the general election a year early after it was alleged his wife Michelle has a Panamanian offshore company and used it for kickbacks from Azerbaijan's ruling family linked to the licensing of an Azeri bank on Malta.GDP is forecast to grow 4.6 percent this year, three times the average of the eurozone, which Malta entered in 2008, four years after joining the EU.A sharply-dressed former academic, the 48-year-old says Muscat has damaged the reputation for probity on which Malta's economy depends.Germany meanwhile announced it was examining evidence that nearly 2,000 Malta-registered companies had been established as vehicles for illegal tax avoidance by major corporations.
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