First petition in Luxembourg to be publicly debated
A petition against having a tram system in Luxembourg is the first to make it to a public debate, but it is unlikely to derail the project straight away.
The petition, launched on the government's Chamber of Commerce website, garnered more than the compulsory 4,500 signatures in the allotted time, making it eligible for a public debate in the Chamber of Deputies.
The subsequent debate will be held with the person behind the petition and up to five signatories.
Also present will be Sustainable Development Minister François Bausch, as well as members of the Committee for Petitions and other bodies.
However, for the petition to succeed in its goal of derailing the tram project, stretching from Findel to the Cloche d'Or by 2020/2021, several other steps are needed.
If members of parliament want and based on conclusions drawn from the debate, they can develop a resolution or motion to forward to the vote in plenary.
President of the Chamber of Deputies Mars di Bartolomeo explained that the petition system existed to involve “citizens in public debate by giving them a voice in the same way as a referendum or elections.”
He added that it can influence laws by encouraging “reflections”, which may lead to changes in government legislation.
He cited the example of the Rockhal, which was borne from a petition launched 30 years ago to create a concert hall in Luxembourg.
Mr Di Bartolomeo explained that petitions were more effective than simply holding referendums, which take more time to implement and have a different scope.
However, he said that for a subject like extending the right to vote to foreign residents, a referendum will be considered.
40 petitions submitted
Since the new law on petitions was introduced, the Chamber of Deputies has received 40 petitions. Of that number, 24 have been accepted and 15 must be examined. A petition is declared admissible only if it is of general interest or national importance.
"A petition to install a sign in Dudelange would be refused, for example," Mr Di Bartolomeo said. In order for petitions to be valid, signatories must be aged 15 or over and registered in the national register.
The debate on the tram will be broadcast on Chamber TV and streamed on the website of the Chamber of Deputies at 2.30pm on May 27. The debate lasts about an hour and will be followed by a closed meeting.
Translated from an article by Charline Lebrun
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