Election preview: Luxembourg

Luxembourg goes to the polls on Sunday to elect a new parliament, passing judgement on the centre-to-centre-left government of prime minister Xavier Bettel, in power for the last five years.

Prior to the 2013 election, Luxembourg’s centre-right party, the Christian Social People’s Party (CSV), had been in office for 34 years – almost 19 of them under the prime ministership of Jean-Claude Juncker, who has since gone on to be chief minister of the European Union.

As I said in my preview last time, while Luxembourg “regards itself as something of a model – if very small – European state,” it also had, “incongruously, some of the appearance of a one-party state.”

Voters evidently decided that it was time for a change. Although the CSV remained the largest party, with 33.7% of the vote and 23 of the 60 seats, the other three mainstream parties (socialists, liberals and Greens) won a majority (32 seats) between them and formed a coalition under liberal leader Bettel, excluding the CSV.

There are two other parties in parliament, a Eurosceptic conservative party with three seats and the far left with two. Voting is proportional in each of four (small) multi-member constituencies.

News coverage is scanty, but it appears that the three governing parties are likely to continue their coalition in the event that they jointly retain a majority. Given their current narrow margin, however, and the fact that only small numbers of votes are required to swing seats, there is no assurance of that.

Opinion polling seems to be even scantier, but one poll from June shows the CSV making gains at the expense of the liberals and centre-left. That would make it impossible to again keep the CSV out of government; either it would team up with one of the existing coalition parties, or it may reach a majority with the aid of the Eurosceptic Alternative Democratic Reform Party.

Results should be available Monday morning, Australian time: check out the Luxembourg electoral commission’s site here.


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