23 November 2008

EuroCountdown: Luxembourg

MEPs now: 6
MEPs in June: 6

2004 results

Chrëschtlich Sozial Vollekspartei (Christian Social People's Party) - 37.1% - 3 seats
Lëtzebuergesch Sozialistesch Arbechterpartei (Luxembourg Social Workers' Party) - 22.0% - 1 seat
Déi Gréng - (The Greens) - 15.0% - 1 seat
Demokratesch Partei - (Democratic Party) - 14.9% - 1 seat
Alternativ Demokratesch Reformpartei - (Alternative Democratic Reform Party) - 8.0% - 0 seats

Prediction: The Election is coloured by the Legislative Elections due one week later (though possibly brought forward to co-incide with the European Parliamentary vote), but following a 2004 election which saw the strongest CSV performance in 45 years, I'd expect them to slip back but remain safely in first place, and the battle is for second place. My hunch is that the Democrats will benefit in terms of votes, but in terms of seats, anything could happen: the CSV could retain all three, or any of the parties could pick up a CSV loss, even, at a pinch, the ADR. Even my hunch is based on the fact that the Democrats are the largest opposition party: with no major electoral test between the 2004 elections and now, I could have called this one completely wrong.

So based on what little information we have, the CSV have provided every post-war Prime Minister in Luxembourg except one, Gaston Thorn. The current PM is Jean-Claude Juncker, who has been in charge since 1995 and whose popularity showed no signs of waning in 2004. It's logical that by now, some shine might have been taken off, but even so, the CSV should take first place and at least two seats for the EPP.

The LSA is the second largest party and currently in Coalition with the CSV. In the 2005 communal elections they appeared to be the largest party in local government, but the alternation between the LSA and the Democrats for second place (and Deputy Prime Minister's job) seems to be fairly frequent. It's on that basis that I see them slipping back a little. But if the vote stays relatively static, they could end up regaining the second MEP that they lost in 2004. Needless to say, they're in the PSE.

The Greens (no prizes for guessing which group they're in!) saw a decent swing towards them in 2004 and they appear to do better in the Euro elections than the national ones. But they did seem to plateau at the 4/5 seat mark in the Legislative elections between 1989 and 1999, so I don't really foresee much of an advance for them at this stage. And they've never had more than one MEP at any time.

The Democrats (in the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party, and so the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) probaby stand the most to gain, as the largest opposition party, and also in the hope that the LSA-Democrat pendulum swings back in their direction. The question is whether it will swing far enough for second place. Whether it swings far enough for a second seat is another matter entirely.

ADR, however, are something else. They started life as a single-issue party campaigning on pensions, but they've since evolved into a right-wing, borderline-Eurosceptic party that would probably feel at home in the proposed Movement for European Reform group. Their vote did go down in 2004, but who knows? The thought of a Eurosceptic MEP from Luxembourg? It's a long shot, but it could happen...

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