Coalition loses majority in opinion poll

While health minister Paulette Lenert’s LSAP would gain seats in an election, prime minister Xavier Bettel’s DP would lose, according to a November survey Library photo: Romain Gamba / Maison Moderne

While health minister Paulette Lenert’s LSAP would gain seats in an election, prime minister Xavier Bettel’s DP would lose, according to a November survey Library photo: Romain Gamba / Maison Moderne

Luxembourg’s coalition government would lose its majority in parliament if elections were held in November, a poll published on Tuesday shows.

The so-called “Sonndesfro” (Sunday question) between 11 and 19 November asked a group of 1,879 Luxembourg voters who they would pick if elections were held that coming Sunday.

The result is likely sobering for Luxembourg’s biggest parties. The Christian democrat CSV, the largest opposition group in parliament, would lose six seats compared to the 2018 elections, dropping from 21 to 15 mandates.

Prime minister Xavier Bettel’s Democratic Party (DP) would lose three seats and the Greens one seat. With the coalition holding a waver thin majority of 31 to 29 since the 2018 ballot, even a gain of two seats for the social democrat LSAP in the November survey would mean the government would lose its majority.

The big winner of the poll is the Pirate Party, which would gain five seats compared to the two it earned in the last elections. The ADR in the poll also received more support, with a gain of three seats.

Despite its loss, the CSV in the current environment would become the coalition kingmaker, generating the necessary majority with either the DP and the LSAP or the LSAP and the Greens. Coalition combinations with the ADR and Pirate Party would also be possible but unlikely.

The DP in the early stages of the pandemic gained in popularity among voters, rising from a 17.5% result at the 2018 elections to 19.9% in November 2020. One year on, it would receive just 16.2% of votes.

The result comes amid a plagiarism scandal plaguing Bettel as well as stricter pandemic measures, such as the introduction of the CovidCheck system in the workplace in November and expanding the system to the entire hospitality and events sector.

The poll was conducted before Monday’s announcement that the system will be tightened further, allowing only vaccination and recovery certificates for leisure activities, meaning unvaccinated people with a test certificate will largely be excluded from public life.

Good LSAP result

The LSAP on the other hand continues to do well, with support rising from 16.8% of votes in the 2018 election to 19.8% in November last year and 20.2% in November 2021. In a separate opinion poll, health minister Paulette Lenert (LSAP) was recently voted Luxembourg’s most popular politician.

Lenert is set to become deputy prime minister in January as part of a cabinet reshuffle, paving the way for the politician to lead the LSAP into the 2023 elections with an eye on the premiership.

On a scale of +5 to -5 for thinking highly or poorly of the government’s job, the coalition’s score dropped from +1.5 a year ago to just +0.8 in the survey mid-November. The DP’s score decreased from +1 to +0.4 while the Greens’ shrank from -0.2 to -0.4. Again, the LSAP fared better, with a result of +0.9, down from +1.

Here, too, the Pirate Party scored big, with the assessment of its work climbing from a score of -0.6 to +0.2. The ADR’s result was stable at -1.1, despite the increase in votes the party received in the election poll, while the CSV’s score dropped from +0.1 to -0.3.

The results of the opinion poll--commissioned by broadcaster RTL and the Luxemburger Wort newspaper--were released the same day finance minister Pierre Gramegna (DP) as well as deputy prime minister Dan Kersch and social security minister Romain Schneider (both LSAP) announced their resignation from the government.

From Bettel’s first cabinet in 2013, this leaves only seven members--including the premier--out of 17 who have survived in office over the last eight years.