Luxembourg Three-Party Coalition Talks to Conclude TodayStephanie Bodoni
Coalition talks to form a new government in Luxembourg conclude today, signaling the imminent end of Jean-Claude Juncker’s tenure as prime minister, a post he has held for longer than any other European leader.
“After more than 175 hours, we will conclude our coalition talks today,” Xavier Bettel, head of the Liberals party, said on his Twitter account. Bettel met with Grand Duke Henri, Luxembourg’s head of state, this morning and is scheduled to hold a press conference on the coalition program at 4 p.m. in Luxembourg.
Bettel will become the country’s next prime minister and will put forward Pierre Gramegna, current director general of the Chamber of Commerce, for the finance minister post after the meeting with the Grand Duke, RTL reported.
After a spy scandal prompted snap elections in October, Juncker’s Christian Social People’s party, or CSV, gave up three seats in Parliament. While CSV, which has been in power almost continuously since World War II, remained the strongest party with 23 seats in the 60-seat chamber, it was the group’s lowest tally since 1999.
The Liberals, or DP, led by Bettels gained four seats to 13, while the Socialists, or LSAP, maintained their 13 seats and the Greens went down one to six. The three parties have been in coalition discussions on the next government’s program since Oct. 30.
Juncker, who turns 59 in December, has been Luxembourg’s premier since 1995. The nation of 531,000 people, which was the EU’s smallest member until Malta joined in 2004, has been governed by prime ministers from CSV since 1945, except for 1974-1979, the only time the head of government was a liberal in a DP-LSAP coalition.