Long seen as the natural party of government, the right of centre CSV seemed to have a choice of three possible coalition partners before Sunday’s elections. But its loss of 2 seats means that it can rule out governing with the Déi Gréng--the party that made the biggest gains at the polls.
Mathematically the CSV and LSAP have enough seats to govern, but with the socialists losing 3 seats in parliament, that would be difficult to sell to the electorate.
So, the only option is to go into coalition with the DP, with a majority in the 60-seat parliament of 33.
However, if Xavier Bettel and the DP were to ignore the gains made by Déi Gréng in favour of the CSV, which suffered significant losses in the popular vote, he would also lose credibility. François Bausch told a gathering of Déi Gréng at den Atelier that his party “belongs in government” after such a historically significant result.
A continuation of Gambia would therefore be the required path. But what will the electorate say if the LSAP continues in government after losing 3 seats?
Claude Wiseler insisted late on Sunday night that the CSV was still the strongest party and has a right to be asked to be in government. He also argued that a two-party coalition would be more stable than a three-party government, especially as the Gambia parties diverged quite significantly on some important issues.
Greens as winners
Felix Braz of Déi Gréng, whom everyone acknowledged as the “winners” of the election, insisted that a coalition that excluded his party would not reflect the result. And he countered Wiseler’s argument about the 3-party coalition by saying that the greens had always been treated as equal partners in the Gambia government.
Étienne Schneider said that the LSAP’s loss of 2.6% of the popular vote was less bad than many pollsters had predicted. He argued that very small margins caused the LSAP to lose 3 seats and that under a different electoral system the CSV would have lost more than just 2 seats.
Braz, Schneider and Xavier Bettel were joined by select party colleagues for late night discussions to analyse the results of the election. Emerging from the talks, Bettel said that the government had received confirmation of its policies from the electorate. But he was still playing his cards close to his chest and said it was up to the Grand Duke to nominate a “formateur” who would lead talks to form the next government.
Bettel was meeting the Grand Duke at 9 a.m. on Monday, after which a meeting of cabinet is planned.