In the last local elections, around 33% of the population did not have the right to vote

Luxembourg expands voter rights for EU citizens and third-country nationals

Luxembourg expands voter rights for EU citizens and third-country nationals

Non-Luxembourgers were required to have lived five years in the county before they had the right to vote in local elections but that is no longer the case

Yesterday, Luxembourg authorities announced that they had repealed the previous voting requirements for foreign nationals in municipal elections. According to a 2003 law, non-Luxembourgish citizens, including those from the EU, were required to have lived at least five years in the state before they had the right to vote in local elections.

This piece of legislation, however, became quite restricted as the number of foreigners in Luxembourg increased over the last 20 years. The Ministry of Family, Integration has published data, suggesting that approximately 33% of the Grand Duchy’s population (75,226) could not register to vote in the last local elections, in 2017 because of the law.

Opening up local elections to all residents

While there is definitely an argument to be made to increase voting rights for foreign residents in all elections, the argument is even stronger for municipal elections. According to Luxembourg’s Minister of Justice, Sam Tanson, who was quoted in a press release, participating in elections is a vital part of the democratic process.

He underlined the importance of representation, as well as voting being a key tool to help with the integration process. Taina Bofferding, Minister of the Interior, echoed the same point, while also underlining the issue of people having a say in the political decisions affecting their lives.

The new amendment will abolish the five-year requirement, meaning that all residents in Luxembourg will have the right to vote in local elections, as long as they register with the municipality. In order to accommodate the influx of new registrations, however, the government has also extended the voter registration period.

Now, people will have to register to vote 55 days before the election day, instead of 87 days. The expanded voting rights will be promoted by Luxembourgish authorities through an information campaign, called ‘I can vote’ (Je peux voter).

The campaign is trying to boost voter activity for the June 2023 municipal elections, by explaining to people how they elect their local representatives.



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