Type: Constitutional monarchy.
Branches: Executive - Grand Duke (head of state, ceremonial), Prime Minister (head of government). Legislative - unicameral parliament (Chamber of Deputies with Council of State serving as a consultative body). Judicial - Superior Court.
Political parties in parliament: Christian Social Union (CSV), Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP), Democratic Party (DP), Green Party, Alternative Democratic Reform Party (ADR).
Suffrage: Universal over age of 18.
Government budget (2006): $19,07 billion
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 includes the prime minister, who serves as head of government. The prime minister is the leader of the political party or coalition of parties having the most seats in parliament, known as the Chamber of Deputies.
Legislative power is vested in the Chamber of Deputies, the members of which are elected directly to 5-year terms. A second body, the "Conseil d’État" (Council of State), composed of 21 ordinary citizens appointed by the Grand Duke, advises the Chamber of Deputies in the drafting of legislation. The Council’s opinions have no binding effect, and the responsibilities of its members are in addition 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.
Principal Government Officials
Head of State - Grand Duke Henri
Prime Minister, Minister of Finance - Jean-Claude Juncker (CSV)
Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs - Jean Asselborn (LSAP)
Minister of Justice, Minister of Treasury and Budget - Luc Frieden (CSV)
Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade - Jeannot Krecké (LSAP)
Minister of Defence - Jean-Louis Schiltz (CSV)
Minister of Interior - Jean-Marie Halsdorf (CSV)
Luxembourg’s political system has a strong local focus. National politicians very often begin their careers and establish their base serving as mayors, and members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected from one of four regions. The political culture favours consensus, and the parties coexist within the context of broad agreement on key issues, including the value of deep European integration.
Since the end of World War II the Christian Social Union (CSV) has been part of the governing coalitions and usually the dominant party. The only exception was from 1974-1979 when the CSV was in opposition to a governing coalition led by the Democratic Party (DP). The CSV resembles Christian democratic parties in other west European countries and enjoys broad popular support. Its leader, Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, in power since 1995, is the longest serving head of government in the European Union.
The Socialist Party (LSAP) is a center-left party similar to most social democratic parties in Europe. Initially founded by a worker’s movement and a main defender of universal suffrage in 1919, the LSAP defends state intervention in the economy and the sustainability of the welfare system. Part of the government from 1984 to 1999, it lost its junior coalition status to the Democratic Party but regained it in the 2004 elections. While in the opposition, the LSAP voiced opposition to U.S. action in Iraq.
The Democratic Party (DP) is a center-right party, drawing support from civil servants, the professions, 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 from 1984 to 1999, the DP overcame the LSAP to claim the role of junior partner in the government from 1999-2004. It is currently again in the opposition. 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, but it has shown some openness to peacekeeping missions.
National elections are held at least every five years and municipal elections every six years. In the June 2004 parliamentary elections the CSV won 24 seats, the LSAP 14, the DP 10, the Greens 7, and the ADR 5. The ADR (Alternative Democratic Reform Party) when elected was known as the Action Committee for Democracy and Pension Rights. It now has only four members in the parliament after one member recently left the party and declared himself an independent.
Luxembourg has long been a prominent supporter of European political and economic integration. In efforts foreshadowing European integration, Luxembourg and Belgium in 1921 formed the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU) to create an inter-exchangeable currency and a common customs regime. Luxembourg is a member of the Benelux Economic Union and was one of the founding members of the European Economic Community (now the European Union). It also participates in the Schengen Group, whose goal is the free movement of citizens among member states. At the same time, Luxembourgers have consistently recognized that European unity makes sense only in the context of a dynamic, transatlantic relationship and have traditionally pursued a pro-NATO, pro-U.S. foreign policy.
Luxembourg is the site of the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Auditors, European Investment Bank, and other vital EU organs. The Secretariat of the European Parliament is located in Luxembourg, but the Parliament usually meets in nearby Strasbourg. Luxembourg held the EU Presidency in the first half of 2005. )
Luxembourg budgeted $291 million for official development assistance (ODA) in 2007, or about 0,84% of its GNI. This places Luxembourg among the top three donor nations in the world, if calculated by percentage of GNI; Luxembourg has stated that it has a goal of eventually reaching 1% of GNI for its ODA.
Last national elections 2009
Last European Parliament election June 2009 See: • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_election,_2009_(Luxembourg) • http://www.europarl.europa.eu/parliament/archive/elections2009/en/luxembourg_en.html