Referendum campaign gets underway in Luxembourg
Official campaigning for Luxembourg's referendum began on Monday with politicians embarking on a shoe-string campaign to encourage Luxembourgers to follow their lead.
The referendum itself takes place on June 7 when Luxembourgers will be asked to vote on three specific questions.
Lowering the voting age to 16
The first question concerns the lowering of the voting age of Luxembourgers from 18 to 16 years old. The proposal would make it optional for 16 and 17-year-olds to vote, unlike the rest of the population, for which voting is compulsory.
Foreigner voting rights
The second question explores the proposal of enabling foreign residents to vote in national elections in Luxembourg. Already, they may vote in local and European elections provided they meet certain criteria.
The new proposal would open up the vote to people of non-Luxembourg nationality who have been resident in the country for 10 or more years and have voted in either a local or European election. Foreign residents meeting this criteria and wishing to vote could then register on the electoral roll, after which it would be compulsory for them to vote in all national elections, as is currently the case for all Luxembourgers.
Capping ministerial mandates
The last question considers limiting Minister's continuous mandates to 10 years, equivalent to two terms. It should be clear that it concerns 10 years of uninterrupted mandate.
What people have said so far
The three parties which make up Luxembourg's government, DP, LSAP and Déi Gréng support all three proposals. Déi Lénk is also in agreement. The largest opposing party, the CSV, opposes all three proposals as does the ADR.
Leaders of the Catholic Church in Luxembourg have declared themselves in favour of foreigner voting rights but did not give a verdict on the other two questions.
Major members of Luxembourg's cultural scene signed a joint, open letter in favour of foreigner voting rights.
Meanwhile, the Youth Parliament said “yes” to voting rights and lowering the voting age. They were against limiting ministerial mandates.
Among unions, the LCGB supports foreigner voting rights and opposes the two other proposals.
As for predicting how Luxembourgers will vote on June 7, a series of surveys shows a growing shift towards a “no” vote to all three questions.
The majority of foreign residents, meanwhile, were said to be in favour of foreigner voting rights.
As the campaign gets underway, it remains to be seen if this will still be the case come referendum day.
Political parties have agreed to spend no more than 100,000 euros per party on campaign material.
Over the coming days, posters and adverts will be springing up around the country and in the national media.
If you have an opinion about the foreigner voting rights question, why not express it on our platform Dear Luxembourgers...
From an article by Marc Vanacker
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