In Luxembourg, voting is a right but also a duty
Voting right and elections in Luxembourg
In Luxembourg, the vote is a right but also an obligation. During one’s registration with one’s municipality of residence, any person over 18 is automatically registered on electoral rolls.
In case of abstention of vote, the penalties can go from 100 to 1,000 euros of fine. Only some cases can be excused such as the voters older than 75 or people who can not vote for professional reasons.
Elections in Luxembourg are held on the basis of a single round of voting. At the end of the vote (municipal or legislative), if no party has obtained an absolute majority to form a government/ municipal counsel, the various parties meet to negotiate and form a coalition government/ municipal council with a common programme and a distribution of posts.
The Luxembourg municipal elections
The municipal elections take place every 6 years. They aim at electing the representatives in every municipality of Luxembourg: the Mayor, his Aldermen and the City Council.
Non-Luxembourg residents may stand for municipal elections in their place of residence. He/she must have resided for at least 6 months in the municipality and in Luxembourg for at least 5 years, the last year of which must be uninterrupted.
To be able to vote in the municipal elections, the voter must:
- Be over 18 years old *,
- Be registered on the electoral roll at least 86 days before the election,
- Benefit from the civil rights and not to be declined the voting right in the State of residence or in the home State,
- Be Luxembourgish and housed in the Grand Duchy
For the nationals from another member State of the European Union, be housed and resident in the Grand Duchy for 5 years at the time of the demand of registration on the electoral roll,
For the foreign nationals from a non-member State of the European Union, be housed in the Grand Duchy and have lived there for at least 5 years at the time of the demand of registration on the electoral roll. Besides, they have to, for all this period, be in regular stay, possess prescribed papers of legitimisation and, where necessary, possess a residence permit in the country if this one is required.
How are municipal elections conducted?
Elections are held on the basis of a relative majority for municipalities with less than 3,000 inhabitants and on a proportional basis for municipalities with more than 3,000 inhabitants.
Each elector has a number of votes equivalent to the number of seats to be filled on the municipal council. He can choose to vote for an entire list or to distribute his votes among the candidates, regardless of the list to which they belong. The voter can even choose to give 2 votes to one or the other candidate, without exceeding his/her total number of votes.
The legislative elections in Luxembourg
The legislative elections take place every 5 years in Luxembourg. They allow to elect the 60 members of the Parliament who will constitute the Chamber of deputies. The next parliamentary elections took place on Sunday 14 October 2018 and enabled the 256.698 Luxembourgers to elect their deputies. At the end of this vote a new government is formed with a new Prime Minister.
Who can vote ?
To be able to vote during the legislative elections, the voter must:
- Be of Luxembourg nationality,
- Be over 18 years old* on the polling day,
- Benefit from the civil and political rights,
- Be housed in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (those living abroad can however have recourse to postal vote).
Good to know: the Luxembourgers domiciled abroad are admitted in the legislative elections by the way of postal vote.
How to vote?
For the elections of deputies, the country is divided into 4 constituencies: the Centre represented by 21 deputies, the South by 23 deputies, the North by 9 deputies and the East by 7 deputies.
Each voter has a maximum number of votes equivalent to the number of deputies in his or her constituency. He/she can distribute his/her votes according to several choices:
- vote for a full list representing only one political party (see the list of the main political parties), then simply tick the box above the list on the ballot paper to choose
- distribute votes by name among several candidates, even if they belong to different political parties. It will then be necessary to tick the box opposite the name of the selected candidate. If you want to give the advantage to several candidates, you can give them 2 votes maximum and therefore you will tick the 2 boxes located opposite their name.
Be careful not to exceed the total number of votes to which you are entitled: 23 for the southern region, 21 for the central region, 9 for the north and 7 for the east.
The European elections in Luxembourg
To be able to vote during the European elections, the voter must:
- Be over 18 years old*,
- Be of Luxembourg nationality or national from another member State of the EU,
- Be domiciled in Luxembourg,
- Be registered on the electoral roll, at least 86 days before the polling day.
- For the Luxembourgers, be housed in the Grand Duchy.
For the nationals from another member State of the EU, be domiciled in the Grand Duchy and have lived there at the time of the registration request on the statutory electoral roll.
* People who will be 18 years old on the polling day, but are not so yet as they fill in their registration request, have to present a parental or guardian consent.
Good to know: the Luxembourgers domiciled abroad are allowed to vote for the European elections by postal vote
Postal vote is possible for the voters:
- Of more than 75 years old,
- Who cannot move for reasons of health,
- Who cannot appear personally at the polling station for duly justified professional or personal reasons,
- Who live in another municipality than in that where they are called to vote.
The request of postal vote is to be sent to the College of the mayor and the aldermen of your municipality, at the earliest 10 weeks and at the latest 30 days before the polling day.
Careful: do not forget to join the consulate of your country of origin in Luxembourg in order to participate in some of your national elections.
Registration on electoral rolls
In luxembourg, the registration on the electoral roll can be made online via the portal macommune.lu.
You first have to sign up in order to have access to the information concerning your municipality.