Luxembourg/Government

< Luxembourg

HomePage | Recent changes | View source | Discuss this page | Page history | Log in |

Printable version | Disclaimers | Privacy policy

Luxembourg has a parliamentary form of government with a constitutional monarchy by inheritance. Under the constitution of 1868, as amended, executive power is exercised by the Grand Duke and the Council of Government (cabinet), which consists of a prime minister and several other ministers. The prime minister is the leader of the political party or coalition of parties having the most seats in parliament.

Legislative power is vested in the Chamber of Deputies, elected directly to 5-year terms. A second body, the "Conseil d'Etat" (Council of State), composed of 21 ordinary citizens appointed by the Grand Duke, advises the Chamber of Deputies in the drafting of legislation. The responsibilities of the members of the Conseil d'Etat are extracurricular to their normal professional duties.

Luxembourg law is a composite of local practice, legal tradition, and French, Belgian, and German systems. The apex of the judicial system is the superior court, whose judges are appointed by the Grand Duke.

Political conditions Since the end of World War II, the Christian Social Party (CSV) has usually been the dominant partner in governing coalitions. The Roman Catholic-oriented CSV resembles Christian Democratic parties in other west European countries and enjoys broad popular support. However, in June 1999, national elections ushered in a new government. For the first time since 1974, the Socialist Party (LSAP) ceded its junior coalition position with the long-reigning CSV majority to the Liberal Democrat Party (DP).

The DP is a center party, drawing support from the professions, merchants, and urban middle class. Like other west European liberal parties, it advocates both social legislation and minimum government involvement in the economy. It also is strongly pro-NATO. In the opposition since 1984, the DP had been a partner in the three previous consecutive coalition governments.

The Communist Party (PCL), which received 10%-18% of the vote in national elections from World War II to the 1960s, won only two seats in the 1984 elections, one in 1989, and none in 1994. Its small remaining support lies in the "steel belt" of the industrialized south.

The Green Party has received growing support since it was officially formed in 1983. It opposes both nuclear weapons and nuclear power and supports environmental and ecological preservation measures. This party generally opposes Luxembourg's military policies, including its membership in NATO.

National elections are held at least every 5 years and municipal elections every 6 years. In the June 1999 parliamentary elections, the CSV won 19, the DP 15, the LSAP 13, the ADR (a single-issue party that emerged from the LSAP focused on pension rights) 6, the "Greens" 5, and the PCL 1. Hence, for the first time since 1974, the Socialists (LSAP) ceded their junior coalition position with the long-reigning Christian Socialist (CSV) majority to the Liberal Democrats. Jean-Claude Juncker (CSV) remained for a second 5-year term as Prime Minister, and Lydie Polfer (DP), the former Luxembourg City mayor, was named Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.

Somewhat unexpectedly, the Socialists gained ground in the October 10, 1999 municipal elections, with candidates taking 34% of municipal seats nationwide, including seven town mayorships. In Luxembourg City, the Grand Duchy's largest municipality, the electorate followed its postwar voting pattern and chose Liberal Democrat Paul Helminger, who had been named to finish Lydie Polfer's term when she became Foreign Minister.

Country name:
conventional long form: Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
conventional short form: Luxembourg
local long form: Grand-Duche de Luxembourg
local short form: Luxembourg

Data code: LU

Government type: constitutional monarchy

Capital: Luxembourg

Administrative divisions: 3 districts; Diekirch, Grevenmacher, Luxembourg

Independence: 1839 (from the Netherlands)

National holiday: National Day, 23 June (1921) (public celebration of the Grand Duke's birthday)

Constitution: 17 October 1868, occasional revisions

Legal system: based on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state: Grand Duke JEAN (since 12 November 1964); Heir Apparent Prince HENRI (son of the monarch, born 16 April 1955); note - Grand Duke JEAN intends to abdicate in September 2000 in favor of his oldest son, Prince HENRI
head of government: Prime Minister Jean-Claude JUNCKER (since 1 January 1995) and Vice Prime Minister Lydie POLFER (since 7 August 1999)
cabinet: Council of Ministers recommended by the prime minister and appointed by the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister and vice prime minister appointed by the monarch, following popular election to the Chamber of Deputies; they are responsible to the Chamber of Deputies
note: government coalition - CSV and DP

Legislative branch: unicameral Chamber of Deputies or Chambre des Deputes (60 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 13 June 1999 (next to be held by NA June 2004)
election results: percent of vote by party - CSV 29.79%, DP 21.58%, LSAP 23.75%, ADR 10.36%, Green Party 9.09%, the Left 3.77%; seats by party - CSV 19, DP 15, LSAP 13, ADR 6, Green Party 5, the Left 2
note: the Council of State or Conseil d'Etat, which has 21 members who are appointed for life, is an advisory body whose views are considered by the Chamber of Deputies

Judicial branch: Superior Court of Justice or Cour Superieure de Justice, judges are appointed for life by the monarch; Administrative Court or Tribunale Administratin, judges are appointed for life by the monarch

Political parties and leaders: Action Committee for Democracy and Pension Rights or ADR [Robert MEHLEN]; Christian Social People's Party or CSV [Erna HENNICOT-SCHOEPGES]; Democratic Party or DP [Lydie POLFER]; Green Party [Jean HUSS]; Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party or LSAP [Jean ASSELBORN]; Marxist and Reformed Communist Party DEI LENK (the Left) [Andre HOFFMAN]; other minor parties

Political pressure groups and leaders: ABBL (bankers' association); ALEBA (financial sector trade union); Centrale Paysanne (federation of agricultural producers); CEP (professional sector chamber); CGFP (trade union representing civil service); Chambre de Commerce (Chamber of Commerce); Chambre des Metiers (Chamber of Artisans); FEDIL (federation of industrialists); LCGP (center-right trade union); OGBL (center-left trade union)

International organization participation: ACCT, Australia Group, Benelux, CCC, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EIB, EMU, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NATO, NEA, NSG, OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Arlette CONZEMIUS
chancery: 2200 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006
telephone: [1] (202) 265-4171
FAX: [1] (202) 328-8270
consulate(s) general: New York and San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James C. HORMEL
embassy: 22 Boulevard Emmanuel-Servais, L-2535 Luxembourg City
mailing address: American Embassy Luxembourg, Unit 1410, APO AE 09126-1410 (official mail); American Embassy Luxembourg, PSC 9, Box 9500, APO AE 09123 (personal mail)
telephone: [352] 46 01 23
FAX: [352] 46 14 01

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and light blue; similar to the flag of the Netherlands, which uses a darker blue and is shorter; design was based on the flag of France