Election Resources on the Internet:
Elections to the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies
by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera

Luxembourg held a parliamentary election on Sunday, October 14, 2018. An overview of the proportional representation system used to choose members of the Grand Duchy's unicameral legislature - the Chamber of Deputies - is presented here.

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg official elections website has detailed 2018 election results in French. National and (for 1999 to 2013) constituency-level results are available here (and also in CSV format) for the following Chamber elections:

      October 14, 2018      
      October 20, 2013      
      June 7, 2009      
      June 13, 2004      
      June 13, 1999      

The election statistics presented in this space are derived from results published by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg official elections website - which has detailed 2013 election results in French - and Luxembourg's Statistics Portal. However, since voters may choose as many Chamber candidates as there are constituency seats to be filled (see below), party vote totals were obtained by dividing list results by the total number of seats (with fractions rounded to obtain whole number figures), and the results were then aggregated for each political party. Moreover, it should be noted that the sum of votes cast for parties will not equal the total number of valid votes due to the fact that some electors vote for fewer candidates than the number of available seats.

May 22-25, 2014 European election results are available here. In addition, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg official elections website has detailed results in French of the 2014 European election in Luxembourg.

General Aspects of the Electoral System

The legislature of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Chamber of Deputies, is composed of 60 members directly elected by universal adult suffrage every five years. Chamber seats are filled in four multi-member constituencies, where political parties present lists of candidates. Electors cast as many votes as there are seats to be filled. Electors may select a single list, and in this manner vote for every candidate on the list, but they may also cast up to two votes for any candidate, or combine candidates from different lists - a practice known in French as panachage. Voting is compulsory in Luxembourg.

Constituency seats are allocated by the Hagenbach-Bischoff method, in which an electoral quota is calculated by dividing the total number of valid votes by the number of seats to be allocated plus one. The number of votes polled by each list is then divided by the electoral quota, and the result, disregarding fractions, is the initial number of mandates allocated to the list; unfilled seats are then allocated in each constituency according to the largest average method, also known as the D'Hondt rule. List seats are assigned to the candidates with the largest vote totals within each list.

The Political Parties

Luxembourg has a multi-party system composed of three major parties - the center-right Christian Social People's Party (CSV), the left-of-center Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP) and the liberal Democratic Party (DP) - as well as several smaller parties, most notably among them the environmentalist Greens and the conservative Alternative Democratic Reform Party (ADR; previously the Action Committee for Democracy and Pensions Justice and originally the Action Committee 5/6). While no single party has held an absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies since the end of World War II, and the grand duchy has been ruled by a succession of coalition governments, the Christian Democratic CSV has won the largest number of seats in every parliamentary election held between 1945 and 2014, and has presided all but two of the country's postwar cabinets.

Following the demise of the 1945-47 all-party government, CSV ruled the country in coalition with the Democratic Group (the DP's predecessor) until 1951, when the Christian Democrats formed a coalition government with the Socialists. Three successive CSV-LSAP coalition cabinets held power until 1959, when CSV leader Pierre Werner formed a new coalition government with the Liberals. However, in the 1964 parliamentary election, the Socialists outpolled the Christian Democrats (which nonetheless remained the largest party in the Chamber of Deputies), while the Liberals suffered heavy losses and the ruling coalition lost its parliamentary majority. Pierre Werner then formed a grand coalition government of CSV and LSAP, which lasted until 1968, when both parties suffered minor losses in an early legislative election, but the Liberals recovered their earlier losses and subsequently replaced the Socialists as the Christian Democrats' coalition partners in Pierre Werner's third (1969-71), fourth (1971-72) and fifth (1972-74) governments.

The 1974 parliamentary election brought a major political upset: CSV polled its worst result ever, while LSAP won the largest number of votes (but one seat less than the Christian Democrats), and the Liberals had their best result up to that point. Consequently, the Socialists and the Liberals formed a coalition government headed by DP leader Gaston Thorn, and CSV went into opposition for the first and (to date) only time in the history of Luxembourg. However, the DP-LSAP coalition lost its legislative majority in the 1979 general election, while the Christian Democrats staged a comeback and Pierre Werner returned to power, heading a CSV-DP coalition cabinet; Thorn was subsequently chosen as president of the European Commission.

Although CSV and DP retained their overall parliamentary majority in the 1984 legislative election, CSV formed a coalition government with LSAP, which had scored substantial gains in the election; the new government was headed by Jacques Santer, who became CSV leader after Pierre Werner retired from politics. The 1984 general election was also notable for the emergence of the Greens, who won parliamentary representation for the first time.

In the 1989 and 1994 legislative elections, the Christian Democratic-Socialist coalition retained a comfortable majority, while the Greens scored further gains and the Action Committee for Democracy and Pensions Justice (ADR) secured representation in the Chamber of Deputies. Meanwhile, the Communist Party of Luxembourg (KPL), which had commanded a sizable electoral following in previous elections, won only one seat in the 1989 general election, and none in 1994. Prime Minister Santer remained in office until January 1995, when he resigned to become president of the European Commission. Jean-Claude Juncker, who succeeded Santer as CSV leader and head of government, continued the coalition with LSAP until the 1999 general election, in which both ruling parties suffered a setback, while the Liberals polled their best result ever, displacing the Socialists as Luxembourg's second-largest party. Although CSV and LSAP held a narrow parliamentary majority, Juncker formed a CSV-DP coalition government.

In the 2004 general election, the Christian Democrats scored substantial gains, but the Liberals suffered a major setback and slipped back to third place. Meanwhile, the Socialists polled minor gains and the Greens became the country's fourth-largest party, ahead of ADR. Although the Christian Democrats and the Liberals retained an overall legislative majority, Prime Minister Juncker formed a new coalition cabinet of CSV and LSAP; he remained in office following the 2009 legislative election, in which the ruling Christian Democratic-Socialist coalition prevailed with a slightly enlarged parliamentary majority.

However, in July 2013 a report by a parliamentary enquiry commission investigating allegations of misconduct by the country's State Intelligence Service (SREL) concluded that "the prime minister, as head of the intelligence service, not only had no control over his service but also too often omitted to inform the parliamentary control committee or the judiciary of its irregularities, aberrations and illegalities". Although Prime Minister Juncker insisted that he had been in the dark about some of the issues raised by the enquiry commission's report and initially refused to step down, his government collapsed after LSAP - which just a month earlier had backed CSV in the Chamber of Deputies when DP and the Greens unsuccessfully sought the government's resignation - introduced a parliamentary motion calling for the Prime Minister to take responsibility for the mismanagement at SREL and hold early elections. Consequently, Grand Duke Henri - Luxembourg's largely ceremonial head of state - dissolved the legislature at the request of Prime Minister Juncker, and an early parliamentary election was held the following October 20.

Although CSV remained the largest single party in the election, LSAP, DP and the Greens won an overall parliamentary majority between themselves, and in December 2013 the three parties formed a coalition government headed by DP leader Xavier Bettel, who became Luxembourg's first-ever openly gay prime minister.

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Last update: October 14, 2018.