Political institutions, parties, how the state works

Political system in Luxembourg

From a political point of view, Luxembourg is a sovereign and independent state. Luxembourg’s political system is based on parliamentary democracy, in the form of a constitutional monarchy. The crown is hereditary in the Nassau-Weilburg family.

The national holiday is June 23, the symbolic day of the Grand Duke’s birthday.

The legislative power

Legislative power is shared between the Chamber of Deputies, the government and the Council of State.

The Chamber of Deputies

The Chamber of Deputies debates and votes on laws. It can also propose laws. The parliamentary commission for the control of budget execution, chaired by a member of the opposition, has a right of review over the management of the state.

There are 60 deputies. They are elected for 5 years by universal suffrage, by proportional representation.

The next general election will be held on Sunday, October 8, 2023.

In the current assembly, the political parties represented are:

Christian Social People’s Party (CSV – Chrëschtlech-Sozial Vollekspartei)

The CSV has 21 seats. Traditionally, almost all of Luxembourg’s prime ministers have been from the CSV. Gaston Thorn (Prime Minister from 1974 to 1979) and Xavier Bettel (Prime Minister since 2013) are exceptions to the rule. They both come from the DP (Demokratische Partei).
Jean-Claude Juncker, CSV, was Prime Minister of Luxembourg from 1995 to 2013. He left his position to become President of the European Commission from 2014 to 2019.
The CSV is close to the Republicans in France and the CDU in Germany.

Democratic Party (DP – Demokratesch Partei)

The PD has 12 seats. The DP is a centrist party with a liberal tendency. The DP is a member of the Alliance of European Liberals and Democrats. Xavier Bettel, the current Prime Minister, comes from this party.

Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP -Lëtzebuerger Sozialistesch Aarbechterpartei)

10 seats. The LSAP (Lëtzebuerger Sozialistesch Aarbechterpartei) participated in coalition governments in 1974-1979 and since 2013. LSAP is a member of the Party of European Socialists.

The Greens (dei gréng)

9 seats. The green party was for the 1st time in power with the coalition government of Xavier Bettel in 2013.

Alternativ Demokratesch Reformpartei (ADR)

4 seats. The ADR is a conservative party with populist tendencies. He is a member of the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists.

dei Lénk

2 seats. Member of the European Left Party

Pirate Party – Piratepartei Lëtzebuerg

2 seats. This party is in the line of the European Pirate parties. He advocates democracy through transparency of the state and civil rights.

The Luxembourg government

The government has a right of legislative initiative through bills.

The Council of State

The Council of State is composed of 21 councillors. They are appointed and dismissed by the Grand DukeThis is based on proposals made alternately by the Government, the Chamber of Deputies and the Council of State.

It gives its opinion on the bills and proposals presented to the House before the deputies vote. In particular, it examines the conformity of texts with the Constitution, the various international conventions and general principles of law.

The Executive Branch

Executive power is exercised jointly by the Grand Duke and the government.

The Grand Duke, Head of State

The Grand Duke is the Head of State. His person is inviolable and he cannot be held responsible. He cannot be charged or prosecuted.
He promulgates the laws in the collection of legislation called Memorial. The laws are countersigned by the Minister responsible for the ministerial portfolio concerned. Any act bearing the signature of the Grand Duke must first be submitted to the deliberation of the Council of Government.

Grand Duke Henri is Luxembourg’s Head of State. Part of the Nassau-Weilburg dynasty

The Luxembourg government

Parliamentary elections are held every 5 years. After them, the Grand Duke appoints an informant from the majority. The latter proposes a government to the Head of State. In fact, the informant often becomes Prime Minister and Head of Government. He is appointed by the Grand Duke.

The government consists of several ministers. They are appointed by the Grand Duke on the basis of proposals from the Prime Minister.

The government is responsible for drafting legislation. Each minister is entrusted with one or more ministries.

The current government

The current government is a product of the 2018 elections. It is a coalition government. It is formed by the DP (Demokratische Partei), the LSAP and the environmental party dei Gréng.

The CSV, which had a majority in these elections, is now back in opposition. He was in power for 35 years. Jean-Claude Juncker, its representative, was Prime Minister for 19 years. He left his position following his appointment as President of the European Commission in 2013.

Members of the government

The Prime Minister is Xavier Bettel, from the Democratic Party (DP)

  • Xavier Bettel (DP), Prime Minister since December 2013 and Minister of State. He is also in charge of Communication and Media, Cults, Digitalization and Administrative Reform,
  • Paulette Lenert (LSAP), Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Consumer Protection, Minister for Health and Minister Delegate for Social Security.
  • François Bausch (dei Greng) Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, Minister of Mobility and Public Works,
  • Jean Asselborn (LSAP), Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Minister for Immigration and Asylum
  • Claude Meisch (DP), Minister of National Education, Children and Youth, Minister of Higher Education and Research,
  • Corinne Cahen (DP), Minister for Family and Integration, Minister for the Greater Region
  • Marc Hansen, Minister for the Civil Service, Minister for Relations with Parliament, Minister Delegate for Digitalisation, Minister Delegate for Administrative Reform
  • Claude Turmes (dei Greng), Minister of Energy, Minister of Land Management
  • Sam Tanson (dei Greng), Minister of Justice, Minister of Culture
  • Taina Bofferding (LSAP), Minister for Equality between Men and Women, Minister of the Interior
  • Lex Delles (DP), Minister of Tourism, Minister of Middle Classes
  • Henri Kox, Minister of Internal Security, Minister of Housing
  • Franz Fayot (LSAP), Minister of Economy, Minister of Cooperation and Humanitarian Action
  • Claude Hagen (LSAP), Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development, Minister of Social Security
  • Georges Engel (LSAP), Minister of Sports, Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Economy
  • Yuricko Backes (DP), Minister of Finance.
  • Joëlle Welfring (Déi Gréng), Minister of Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development.

See the electoral system of the Chamber of Deputies and the Commons.

The Judicial Branch

The judiciary is completely independent. The courts and tribunals are charged by the Constitution with the exercise of judicial power.

The members of the Public Prosecutor’s Office are headed by the State Attorney General.

The Constitutional Court

It is composed of 9 members and is based in Luxembourg. It rules on the conformity of laws with the Constitution.

Justice of the Peace

They are the first level of the judicial system. They are located in Luxembourg, Diekirch and Esch-sur-Alzette.

They are competent for civil and commercial matters of lesser importance, provided that the subject matter of the dispute does not exceed 10,000 euros and in the last resort up to 750 euros.

They also have jurisdiction over leases and wage garnishments, regardless of the amounts involved.

District Courts

They sit in Luxembourg and Diekirch and are competent in civil and commercial matters for all cases not assigned to another court.

They are also competent in criminal matters up to imprisonment of at least 8 days or fines of more than 250 euros. They are competent in criminal cases for life imprisonment or more than 5 years.

They have appellate jurisdiction in cases handled by the Justice of the Peace, where the subject matter of the dispute exceeds 750 euros.

The Youth and Guardianship Court tries youth protection cases.

The Superior Court of Justice

It is composed of a Court of Cassation and a Court of Appeal.