POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Braz takes legal action over resignation dispute



Félix Braz, pictured at the justice ministry in March 2018, is appealing against the October 2019 “honourable resignation” accorded him by prime minister Xavier Bettel due to “the state of his health”. Anthony Dehez (archives)

Félix Braz, pictured at the justice ministry in March 2018, is appealing against the October 2019 “honourable resignation” accorded him by prime minister Xavier Bettel due to “the state of his health”. Anthony Dehez (archives)

Former déi Gréng deputy prime minister Félix Braz has submitted two appeals against what he says was a forced or involuntary resignation following the heart attack he suffered in August 2019.

Speaking on RTL radio, Félix Braz’s lawyer, Jean-Marie Bauler, said that his client had neither asked to resign his post or signed any agreement to that affect. “In my view, that means the resignation has no legal basis,” Bauler said.

Braz was hospitalised in an intensive care unit in Belgium following a heart attack on 22 August 2019. One month later, on 24 September 2019, the executive committee of déi Gréng party decided to reshuffle its cabinet positions. Transport and armed forces minister François Bausch took over the role of deputy prime minister and Sam Tanson was given the justice portfolio. In turn, Tanson handed over the housing portfolio to Henri Kox, who entered government to maintain déi Gréng’s quota of six cabinet members. These posts were confirmed at a party congress on 3 October, when co-president of déi Gréng Djuna Bernard was reported as saying that the reshuffle was respecting the mandate of voters. “Félix would see it that way too…although it was difficult, we had to look for someone to replace him.”

On October 11, 2019, the grand duke signed an order from prime minister Xavier Bettel that granted Braz an “honourable resignation” due to “the state of his health”. But it is precisely this grand ducal order with which Braz and his lawyer take issue. Bauler said that there is no clear regulation governing what happens when a politician who has spent his life in service for the public good suffers health problems. “I must say I am astonished that the government has not thought of being more proactive in doing something about this.”

A second appeal questions the compensation accorded Braz by the state’s personnel management organisation, which Bauler says was discriminatory and not in accordance with the law.

What is more serious, in Bauler’s view, is the impact of the decision on Braz and his family. “You can imagine how Mr. Braz felt…after being in intensive care for several weeks and then to be told you are no longer a minister. And if you dig a bit deeper and realise that a decisive factor…was friends from his own party…I don’t want to comment further.”