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Luxembourg election delivers likely return to power for Christian Democrat party (CSV)

The coalition government of Luxembourg’s Liberal prime minister Xavier Bettel has lost its parliamentary majority in the general election, held on Sunday, 8 Oktober, which also saw the Green party as the biggest losers. A total of 284,000 people were eligible to vote from Luxembourg’s population of over 650,000. Outgoing Prime Minister Xavier Bettel had with over 34.000 votes the highest turnout of all personal votes.

All in all, the CSV came out on top, as it did at the last elections in 2018, with 29% of the vote, up 0.9 percentage points, according to the full results published on Sunday evening. With 21 seats, the same as five years ago, the CSV appeared to be in a strong position. The three-party coalition government of Liberals, Socialists and Greens, led since 2013 by Xavier Bettel, will not be able to continue. In the last elections, Bettel’s coalition controlled 31 of the 60 seats in the Luxembourg parliament. The Liberals have even increased their support up to 18.7% and 14 seats last Sunday whereas the support for the Greens fell by almost seven points to 8.5%, they found themselves marginalised with just four seats, down from nine.

The CSV, with top candidate Luc Frieden, has historically dominated political life in the Grand Duchy. Xavier Bettel succeeded Jean-Claude Juncker, the Christian Democrat who had been Europe’s longest serving democratically elected leader at the time. But the party found itself out of power following a reversal of alliances 10 years ago.

Frieden, also former Minister of Finance of the Juncker era, has now been tasked by the Head of State, Grand-Duke Henri, to form a government. Luc Frieden will most likely form an alliance with Bettel’s Liberal party. Although there is also the second option, to build a coalition with the Socialists of the outgoing health minister, Paulette Lenert, who now commands 11 parliamentary seats. However, there seem to be a clear preference for a CSV/DP coalition government with a solid 35 seat majority, with Luc Frieden as Prime Minister and Xavier Bettel as the new Foreign Minister, a job that might help him also for his European ambitions. The coalition talks start on Wednesday, 11 October.

Enjoying economic indicators that are better than the European average – growth, employment, median wage – Luxembourg and its financial centre, is in a privileged position within the EU and has the highest per capita gross domestic product in the world.

Thomas Krings

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