Luxembourg to expand local voting rights for foreigners
Luxembourg is set to make it easier for foreigners to vote in local elections as it seeks a higher turn-out during voting in cities and towns, which often host more people without a Luxembourgish passport than nationals.
Parliament could adopt the bill, which would drop the requirement that foreigners have lived in the country for at least five years before they can take part in local elections, soon after a committee meeting on Monday.
The law would allow foreigners to both vote and stand in local elections without needing such long-term residence requirements, regardless of whether they are EU citizens or not and would come in time for next year's voting round.
Non-Luxembourgers account for around half of Luxembourg’s population and around 70% of residents in the capital, with the latest figures showing that Luxembourg's strong population growth and employment growth is driven by foreigners, including by non-EU migration.
At the last local elections in 2017, less than a quarter of resident foreigners signed up to vote, a study by the Centre for Intercultural and Social Studies showed. A third of foreign residents, some 75,226 people, were not authorised to register on the municipal electoral lists because they did not meet the criteria, parliament's website said.
Luxembourg holds communal elections every six years to appoint mayors and councillors, who decide on local budgets and infrastructure projects.
An overwhelming majority in a referendum in 2015 rejected the idea of giving foreigners the right to vote in national elections once they had lived in the Grand Duchy for more than 10 years, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Xavier Bettel's first government, which had campaigned for the measure.