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Few foreigners meet proposed voting criteria
Luxembourg

Few foreigners meet proposed voting criteria

26.03.2015 From our online archive
If Luxembourgers agree to allow foreigners to vote in national elections in the forthcoming referendum, the impact on the electorate would be minimal, analysts suggest.

If Luxembourgers agree to allow foreigners to vote in national elections in the forthcoming referendum, the impact on the electorate would be minimal, analysts suggest.

On June 7, Luxembourgers go to the polls to vote on foreigner voting rights, among other things, in a national referendum.

If they agree and the change is made law, the actual number of new voters created would be incredibly small, particularly when one considers foreigner participation in communal elections.

Under existing law, foreigners who have resided in Luxembourg for five or more years, are permitted to vote in the communal elections.

However, during the 2011 communal elections, around 30,000 people out of an eligible group of 152,000 foreigners (17 percent) registered to vote, data provided by CEFIS suggests.

The participation percentage was even lower in the European elections in May 2014, when just 12 percent of the foreigners who were eligible to vote, cast their ballot. 

Meeting the conditions

One of the proposed conditions proposed for foreigners to vote in national elections is having participated in communal or European elections in Luxembourg.  CEFIS calculated that only around 35,379 foreign nationals, 15 percent of the total foreign population, would meet this criteria, however.

As for those meeting the second condition, 10-year residency within the country, the figure would be further diminished.

“Of the 35,000 foreigners who voted in the communal or European elections, not all have resided in Luxembourg for ten or more years so, the number of potential voters would be even lower,” Sylvain Besch of CEFIS told our colleagues at Contacto.

Furthermore, under current proposals, the few foreigners who meet both conditions can register to vote voluntarily. If they do not all feel compelled to register to vote for Luxembourg's national elections, the total foreigner electorate would recede further.

"Even if they (foreigners) meet the two conditions to vote, there is no auto-enrolment, and it will still be necessary for eligible voters to enrol to vote in legislative elections,” Mr Besch said.

Reporting by Paula Telo Alves and Jess Bauldry

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