Foreigners in Luxembourg can join army but not vote
(CS/DS) Prime Minister Xavier Bettel at Sunday's DP party congress commented that it did not make any sense that foreigners in Luxembourg are allowed to join the army but barred from voting in national elections.
Bettel was speaking out for the triple 'yes' vote in the upcoming June 7 referendum, saying his party was for foreigner voting rights, the right to vote from 16 and a limitation of ministerial mandates to 10 consecutive years.
The Premier said it was unacceptable that only around 40 percent of the population would soon be eligible to vote.
He also criticised the CSV on its election campaign, saying that it was aiming to stoke fear among the public. The CSV's campaign posters read: “Opgepasst! E Kräiz ass séier gemacht” - “Beware! A cross is easily made”.
Bettel commented that this campaign implied there was something to be afraid of, which he added was simply not true and in bad taste.
He also expressed his surprise at the CSV's stance, with the LCGB labour union and the party's youth branch, the CSJ, having said "yes" to foreigner voting rights. Even the Archbishop, Bettel said, had spoken out in favour of more political integration of non-nationals.
The CSV has said that it is opposed to foreigner voting rights but instead wants to ease the criteria to become a Luxembourg national.
The Premier also said that the position of the opposition was not understandable considering that foreign nationals are already allowed to join the army – a decision taken because of a lack of Luxembourg recruits. Luxembourg nationals or residents from an EU member state who have lived in the country for at least 36 months are eligible.
Bettel criticised that while foreigners were defending the interests of Luxembourg they were not allowed to cast their ballot.
Still, he added that the government intends to respect the outcome of the referendum. “Fifty percent and one vote are binding,” he commented.