Luxembourg - 2018 Elections
Legal clarifications were necessary, because there had been snap election in October 2013. Until now, national elections were always scheduled for the first Sunday in June; if this had stayed unchanged, the current legislative period would have exceeded the maximum duration of 5 years, which the Constitution stipulates. The next parliament would be voted on 14 October 2018.
In order to avoid the local elections coinciding with parliamentary elections, as would be the case in 2023, the local elections will now take place in June. These new rules also decouple national from European elections, which so far have always taken place on the same day.
The current prime minister, Xavier Bettel, made a statement in an interview 29 June 2017 with public radio 100,7. Bettel said he was not entering the election campaign to become prime minister again. He would not insist on keeping the post to have the current coalition continue, in case they won the election. However, he also did not categorically exclude a potential coalition with the CSV either, saying that it depended on the election manifestoes of the parties.
Étienne Schneider, current LSAP deputy prime minister, has said he would not easily give up the chance to become prime minister if his party won the biggest share of the votes in 2018. In an interview with RTL radio on 09 July 2017, Schneider stated that his goal was to continue the current coalition government of DP-LSAP-Greens. He also said that he would sit on the opposition benches if his party lost; he was not planning to go into the private sector.
A June 2017 public opinion poll by RTL and Luxemburger Wort suggested that the current coalition would lose up to seven seats, which would cost them the majority in parliament.
Prime minister Xavier Bettel said that the trend of rising inequality in Luxembourg cannot be broken in the short term, but that his government had taken measures to help in the short- and medium term. In an interview with public radio 100,7 on Thursday 21 December, Bettel said that the objective was to give people on the poverty line a “springboard to get out of that situation.” He added that “you don’t ‘manage’ poverty. You need to encourage people to get out of poverty” and into the labor market.
The Christian Social People's Party (CSV) won 28 percent of the votes, well ahead of the Democratic Party (DP), which took 16 percent. The result could see the CSV reclaim its place as the dominant force in Luxembourg's politics, despite losing five points since the previous vote, in 2013. Opinion polls had suggested that Bettel could lose votes because of his unpopular economic policies and declining support within his Democratic Party and coalition partners. A high growth rate under the coalition put pressure on housing and infrastructure.
Bettel’s ALDE-affiliated Democratic Party’s result was unchanged, while his allies, the Socialist Workers Party (LSAP), slipped. The Social Democrats LSAP (S&D) followed the European trend, with the worst election result since the 1920s. The were poised to drop to 4th position for the first time since 1919.
The day’s biggest winners were the third party in government, the Greens, which won three extra seats in parliament. The Pirate Party has also won two seats, entering parliament for the first time. The ADR gained a seat from the LSAP in the North and had four seats in parliament, while Déi Lénk had two.
The Christian Social People's Party (CSV) had been in power from World War II until the last election cycle, when then-Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker was forced to resign during a wiretapping scandal. Juncker, now the head of the European Commission, first claimed the office of prime minister in 1995. He was eventually pushed out by the DP's Xavier Bettel, who formed a coalition with the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party and the Greens after the 2013 vote.
Bettel was expected to meet Henri, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, to discuss the future of his coalition. Any political alliance needs to secure at least 31 seats in the country's 60-seat legislature. Grand Duke Henri named the DP’s Xavier Bettel “formateur”, meaning Bettel has been tasked with forming a government and is the presumed prime minister. The grand duke made the appointment after receiving a report from Martine Solovieff, the attorney general acting as “informateur”, who independently brokered coalition talks.
Solovieff told the grand duke that the DP, LSAP and Green party had formally “expressed their willingness to start negotiations to form a coalition.” The three parties collectively won 31 out of 60 seats in the election, to form a second “Gambia” government [Red, Blue, Green]. However, an agreement on coalition policy positions and cabinet posts will need to be hammered out, as the Greens gained seats, LSAP lost seats and the DP higher education minister, Marc Hansen, was not returned to parliament.
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