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Frieden rules out running in Luxembourgish elections

Frieden rules out running in Luxembourgish elections

by LT and LW staff 3 min. 26.01.2018 From our online archive
Veteran CSV politician and former finance, justice minister wants to give Grand Duchy stronger voice in Brussels
Focusing on Europe: CSV politician Luc Frieden (LW)

Luc Frieden, a veteran of Luxembourgish politics and a former finance and justice minister, has confirmed he will not be a candidate in the Grand Duchy's upcoming legislative elections. 

The Christian Social People's Party (CSV) politician and chairmain of the board of directors at Saint Paul Group, publisher of the Luxemburger Wort and the Luxembourg Times, said he would focus instead on the 2019 European elections. 

Citing his national and international political experience, Frieden told the Wort he had seen how important the European Union was for Luxembourg and said he wanted to help give the Grand Duchy a strong voice in Europe. 

Polls suggest the CSV is on track to win the most votes in the upcoming elections. It already is the party with the most seats in parliament but following the 2013 snap election results, the Democratic Party, the Greens and the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party formed a coaltion, leaving the CSV on the opposition bench. 

European commissioner

Frieden, a minister under the administration of former prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker, said he was prepared to head the European CSV list in 2019 but that this was ultimately the party's decision. 

Asked whether he were interested in holding the European commissioner position, Frieden said it was the decision of the next Luxembourg government. 

He said he was "obviously" interested in a position as commissioner, the EU Commission being a "very important" institution. 

Can't do everything

In an RTL interview on Thursday, Frieden was asked whether he would remain in his positions at Saint Paul and BIL, where he is also chairman of the board, in light of his potential European-election candidature.

He said he would take those decisions once the CSV nominated a candidate.

"You can't do everything. You can't be president of a newspaper – even if you don't have anything to do with the content – when you are the top candidate for European elections.

"But again, you have to take it step by step. First, the party must decide whether I am candidate, or eventually top candidate. There are procedures, and you can't give up your job before knowing what the next step will be.

"But I can tell you I will think long and hard about it because, as with the national elections, people don't give up their jobs before they are [nominated as candidate] because you also have to stand in real life.

"I have a responsibility toward the people who work in those companies, and that's really important."

Chairman of CSV convention

On 24 March, Frieden will lead the CSV convention in Ettelbrück, Luxembourg, where the 60 CSV candidates for the legislative elections will be nominated. 

A number of CSV candidates are already known, having been approved by the four electoral district board members. 

In which district fellow CSV politician MEP Viviane Reding will be candidate will also need to be decided on 24 March, as Reding said at a press conference on Monday that the decision would be made by the senior committee.

From left to right, Jean-Claude Juncker, Luc Frieden and Claude Wiseler in the Luxembourg Parliament (LW)
From left to right, Jean-Claude Juncker, Luc Frieden and Claude Wiseler in the Luxembourg Parliament (LW)

The committee must decide whether Reding will run in the southern district along Marc Spautz, the CSV party president, or in the central district with the party's top candidate, Claude Wiseler. 

Reding came in as the most popular CSV politician and the fifth most popular politician in the whole of Luxembourg in the latest Politmonior survey.

She came in three positions above Wiseler and was also ahead of him in terms of recognition.

Frieden left Luxembourgish politics in 2014 after a snap election in 2013 left the CSV in the opposition.

Between 1998 and 2013, he occupied various ministerial positions and served as justice and budget minister for more than 10 years.

He also held the defence and finance minister positions. 

In September 2014, he joined Deutsche Bank in London as vice-chairman.

He then left the bank in 2016 and became chairman of the board at the Banque International à Luxembourg (BIL).

Frieden is also a partner at the Luxembourg law firm Elvinger Hoss Prussen.