VALLETTA  - Malta took to the polls on Saturday in a general election expected to bring the opposition Labour party to power in the eurozone’s smallest member state for the first time in more than 15 years. The party’s 39-year-old leader Joseph Muscat, who has promised to unite the Mediterranean island and boost its economy, is ahead by 12 points in the polls against his rival, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi of the Nationalist Party. Polls close at 2100 GMT and vote counting will begin on Sunday. The tiny island state is a rare example of a eurozone state with low unemployment, respectable economic growth and solid public finances. The unemployment rate is 6.0 percent and, according to the latest estimates, the country clocked 1.5 percent economic growth last year. Muscat has run a slick US-style campaign calling for change, accusing his rival of failing to ensure stability by ruling with a one-seat majority. Originally an opponent to Malta joining the European Union, Muscat has since changed his views and is a former member of the European Parliament. Malta joined the European Union in 2004 and adopted the euro in 2008. Gonzi and Muscat both cast their votes in their respective polling centres on Saturday without making any comments to waiting journalists. There are a total of 326,483 eligible voters.