Social Democrat Lenert launches bid to party power
LSAP politician and her party beat Prime Minister Bettel and his DP in recent polls
By Yannick Lambert and Annette Welsch
Health Minister Paulette Lenert is ready to lead her party into this year's elections, she said on Friday, posing a possible challenge from the Social Democrat for Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.
Lenert's frequent public appearances during the pandemic helped her become the country's most popular politician, and she looks set to gain the support to head her party at an LSAP congress, after the June communal elections.
"I am ready to lead our party into the elections from [the electoral district of] the East together with you," Lenert said after a 30-minute speech at the New Year's reception of her party on Friday.
Bettel's name appears on the voting lists in the central district, a different area, which means the two will not engage in a direct duel for the favour of voters. Nevertheless, Lenert could pose a challenge for his role as prime minister if she leads her party to a nationwide electoral victory.
Lenert pulled ahead of her party colleague Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg's outspoken foreign minister, in the most recent countrywide polls in November, less than a year before the October national election. Bettel, of the DP pro-business liberals, has said he wants to stay on as prime minister.
Luxembourg's three-party coalition, of LSAP, DP and the Greens, would expand its current, one-seat majority if national elections were held today, the latest voter opinion survey showed in November.
But it is the increasing popular support for the LSAP that would push the current coalition to 33 seats in the 60-seat Parliament.
Lenert was never elected into her role, but replaced her predecessor Etienne Schneider after he stepped down as health minister in February 2020.