Europe 2009 – Luxembourg


Guest post from our Benelux correspondent, Justin-Paul Sammons.

One of the smallest and wealthiest nations in the EU, as well as one of its six founding nations, Luxembourg goes to the polls on Sunday 7 June to elect 6 MEPs, the same number as in 2004. On the same day, the 350,000+ voting citizens also elect their 60-seat unicameral parliament for a five-year term. The polls are open from 8:00am to 2:00pm, and while counting will immediately after the booths close, no results are  allowed to be announced before 10:00pm, by which time about 80% of the votes will have been counted. The final results will be declared by midnight, so it will be clear fairly quickly if any seats change hands.

The entire country is one electorate using the Hagenbach-Bischoff method, a variant of the d’Hondt system. The parties are organised in lists, and the quota for a seat is around 14.3% of the vote. Each voter receives six votes they can cast in any combination across as many parties as they like as long as they do not give a single candidate more than two votes. No preferences seem to be required, so it is simply a case of ticking six boxes.

The current breakdown of Luxembourg’s 6 MEPs is as follows:

  • Christian Social People’s Party (EPP): 3
  • Socialist Workers’ Party (PES): 1
  • Democratic Party (ALDE): 1
  • The Greens (EG/EFA): 1

This reflects the nature of Luxembourg’s national politics, where the conservative Christian Social People’s Party (CSPP) has been the dominant force for most of the last century; the current Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, has held his post since 1995, which is the longest of any current leader in the EU. Nationally, the CSPP is currently in a coalition with the social-democratic Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP), after its previous partner, the Democratic Party (liberals), lost a third of its MPs at the 2004 national elections.

In the 2004 EU elections the only movement was a one-seat gain to the CSPP at the expense of the SWP, and while the CSPP is expected to poll less this time, it will most likely not result in a change in the make-up of Luxembourg’s representatives to Brussels.

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