Politics of Luxembourg

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The politics of Luxembourg takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister of Luxembourg is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is under the constitution of 1868, as amended, exercised by the government, by the Grand Duke and the Council of Government (cabinet), which consists of a prime minister and several other ministers. Usually the prime minister is the leader of the political party or coalition of parties having the most seats in parliament. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Legislative power is vested in the Chamber of Deputies, elected directly to five-year terms.

Recent political history[edit]

Since the end of World War II, the Christian Social People's Party (CSV) has usually been the dominant partner in governing coalitions. The Catholic-oriented CSV resembles Christian democratic political parties in other West European nations, and enjoys broad popular support.

The Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP) is a party of social-democratic orientation which has been a junior partner in most governments from 1974 either with the CSV from 1984–1999 or the Democratic Party from 1974-1979.

The Democratic Party (DP) is a liberal party, drawing support from the professions, merchants, and urban middle class. Like other west European liberal parties, it advocates both social legislation and minimum government involvement in the economy. It also is strongly pro-NATO. The DP had been a junior partner in coalition governments with the CSV from 1999–2004 and 1979–1984, and senior partner in coalition governments with the LSAP from 1974-1979.

The Communist Party (PCL), which received 10%-18% of the vote in national elections from World War II to the 1960s, won only two seats in the 1984 elections, one in 1989, and none in 1994. Its small remaining support lies in the "steel belt" of the industrialized south.

The Greens have received growing support since it was officially formed in 1983. It opposes both nuclear weapons and nuclear power and supports environmental and ecological preservation measures. This party generally opposes Luxembourg's military policies, including its membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In the June 2004 parliamentary elections, the CSV won 24 seats, the LSAP 14, the DP 10, the Greens 7, and the Alternative Democratic Reform Party 5. The Left and the Communist Party each lost its single seat in part due to their separate campaigns. The Democratic Party which had become the junior coalition partner in 1999 registered heavy losses. The long-reigning CSV was the main winner, partly due to the personal popularity of the prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker (CSV). In July 2004, it chose the LSAP as its coalition partner. Jean Asselborn (LSAP) was appointed as the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration. In 2013, the CSV lost one seat (23 seats instead of 24).

A complete list of all governments is maintained on the website of the Government of Luxembourg.[1]

In 2008, a bitter controversy over euthanasia had parliament pass a measure which would restrict the veto powers of the grand-duke, who had opposed the pro-euthanasia law on the grounds of his private Christian conscience, much like what had occurred in Belgium in the early 1990s on the topic of abortion.[citation needed]

Executive branch[edit]

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
Grand Duke Henri 7 October 2000
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel DP 4 December 2013
Deputy Prime Minister Etienne Schneider LSAP 4 December 2013

Luxembourg has a parliamentary form of government with a constitutional monarchy operating according to absolute primogeniture. Under the constitution of 1868, executive power is exercised by the Grand Duke or Grand Duchess and the cabinet, which consists of a Prime Minister and several other ministers. The Grand Duke has the power to dissolve the legislature and reinstate a new one. However, since 1919, sovereignty has resided with the nation.[2] The monarch is hereditary. The prime minister and vice prime minister are appointed by the monarch, following popular election to the Chamber of Deputies; they are responsible to the Chamber of Deputies. The government is currently a coalition of the DP, LSAP and DG.

Legislative branch[edit]

The Chamber of Deputies (D'Chamber/Chambre des Députés) has 60 members, elected for a five year term by proportional representation in four multi-seat constituencies.
The Council of State (Conseil d'État) is an advisory body composed of 21 ordinary citizens appointed by the Grand Duke, advises the Chamber of Deputies in the drafting of legislation.[3] The function of councillor ends after a continuous or discontinuous period of fifteen years or when the relevant person reaches the age of seventy-two. The responsibilities of the members of the Conseil d'Etat are extracurricular to their normal professional duties.

Political parties and elections[edit]

Judicial branch[edit]

Luxembourg law is a composite of local practice, legal tradition, and French, Belgian, and German systems. The apex of the judicial system is the Superior Court of Justice (Cour Superieure de Justice), whose judges are appointed by the Grand Duke for life. The same goes for the Administrative Court (Tribunal Administratif).

Administrative divisions[edit]

The Grand Duchy is divided into three districts: Diekirch, Grevenmacher, Luxembourg.

Military[edit]

Luxembourg's contribution to its defence and to NATO consists of a small army. Being a landlocked country, it has no navy. It also has no air force. However 18 NATO Airborne Warning And Control System airplanes are registered as aircraft of Luxembourg as a matter of political and aviational convenience.[4]

International organization membership[edit]

Luxembourg is member of ACCT, Australia Group, Benelux, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EIB, EMU, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, ITUC, NATO, NEA, NSG, OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO, Zangger Committee

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Government website
  2. ^ Constitution of Luxembourg. Government of Luxembourg. URL accessed 19 May 2006.
  3. ^ Structure. Conseil d'Etat. URL accessed 19 May 2006.
  4. ^ Luxembourg - NATO AEW Force. 8 September 2005. Aeroflight.co.uk. URL accessed 9 May 2006.