All about the Lëtzebuerger Chrestlech Sozial Vollekspartei (CSV)
The roots of CSV (Christian Social People’s Party) date back to 1914 with the foundation of the Luxembourg “Rietspartei”, PD (Party of the Right). The party was formed by politically active Catholics who wanted to minimize the effects of the Marxist and Capitalist impact on Luxembourg and, most importantly, build a united front to fight the growing anti-clericalism influencing the country.
During World War II, and the ban of political parties during nazi occupation the PD managed to successfully become part of the Luxembourg government once the war was over and “Political Catholicism” became one of the strongest political powers.
From 1918, PD held the premiership with Émile Reuter. However, 1918 also saw the departure of disgruntled members, Pierre Prüm being the most prominent, many of whom formed the “Onofhängeg Nationalpartei”, PNI (Independent National Party), which won the national elections in 1925.
From 1925-26 Pierre Prüm was Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, leading a rather diverse government composed of PNI, the Socialists and the Liberals. Due to the heterogeneous nature of the coalition, internal conflicts soon led to the separation of the liberals and socialists on important matters, leaving the government unable to form a majority. Pierre Prüm therefore resigned on 15 July 1926, prompting Grand Duchess Charlotte to appoint Joseph Bech (PD) to Prime Minister, a choice confirmed by the national elections in 1928.
In 1937, Bech resigned and Pierre Dupong was appointed new Prime Minister, a role he held until 1953. Although Luxembourg was formally annexed on 30 August 1942, the Prime Minister of the government in exile remained so during the war (in absentia). Under the premiership of Pierre Dupong, Luxembourg witnessed social reforms that have played an active role in shaping the country into what it is today; the implementation of equal gender voting rights, the 8-hour work day, initiatives dealing with housing shortages as well as provisions helping the unemployed, the disabled and war veterans.
On 15 and 20 December 1945 PD proclaimed itself as the “Lëtzebuerger Chrestlech Sozial Vollekspartei”, LCV (Luxembourg Christian Social People’s Pary) in the Lëtzebuerger Wort as a broad patriotic and Christian-social party, whose main focus was on policies dealing with social aspects and family matters. Shortly afterwards LCV became CSV, “Chrëschtlech Sozial Vollekspartei” and the restructuring of the party away from Catholicism saw the demise of the former PD.
Since 1959, CSV has held the premiership in all but one of the government formations. After the elections in 1974, CSV won the most seats in parliament but was unable to form a coalition with either LSAP or DP, leaving them in opposition to the Thorn/Vouel (later Berg) government. After the national elections in 2009, CSV won 26 seats in parliament and placed 7 ministers (including the Prime Minister) in government.
On a local level, CSV won 27 seats in the 1999 election and 151 in 2005, allowing them to place 12 Mayors in the different proportional representation communes. The slight rise in seats witnessed on the local level in 2005 was hence mirrored in the national election four years later.
After the new name in 1945, the party formed a new political identity, moving away from the political Catholicism toward a Christian-Social orientation, basing its social politics on Christian humanism and values pertaining to Solidarity, Freedom, Peace, Fairness, Family and Subsidiarity. CSV argues that in their name the "C" is the ideological background, the "S" the goal and the "V" their methods of achieving these.
However, CSV stresses that although they’re guided by Christian values, they’re not a confessional party and consequently are open to all individuals regardless of religion and convictions. Solidarity is the key ingredient in CSV politics, and aims at helping those less fortunate, yet at the same time requiring the individual to actively contribute to a well-functioning society.
CSV wants a social market economy in which state intervention should be practiced in order to ensure fair competition, guarantee good working conditions, social welfare, the well-being of the family and low levels of unemployment whilst maintaining a high rate of economic growth.
As a Christian democratic party, CSV is generally seen as being conservatively-inclined in relation to to cultural, social and moral matters and advocates that political decisions should consider the medium to long-term impact.
- Website: www.csv.lu