With parliamentary elections just 3 weeks away, Paperjam and Maison Moderne (the publisher of Delano) hosted a debate with senior candidates from the six parties currently represented in the Chambre des Deputés.
François Bausch (Déi Gréng), Fernand Kartheiser (ADR), Pierre Gramegna (DP), Claude Wiseler (CSV) Étienne Schneider (LSAP), David Wagner (Déi Lénk) were questioned by Paperjam’s editor-in-chief Theirry Raizer and Maison Moderne editorial director Matthieu Croissendeau. In stark contrast to some of the fiery exchanges during a debate featuring 10 party candidates on RTL last Sunday, the discussion on Wednesday evening was affable and respectful.
But that doesn’t mean the candidates did not get across their points. Asked with whom the CSV could work if, as seems likely, the party is asked to form a government after 14 October, Wiseler said that he could envisage a coalition with any of the major three parties, but ruled out governing with the ADR or Déi Lénk, whom he said have presented policies “that are not compatible with our values as a Christian-social party.” The CSV lead candidate also called for an immediate reform of the pensions system while it still enjoyed a healthy reserve.
Growth and public finances
Current finance minister Pierre Gramegna, standing in for his DP colleague Xavier Bettel who was at the EU summit in Salzburg, countered Wiseler’s argument and said there was no need to panic on pensions because the current system was guaranteed until 2041. “We are enjoying growth and our public finances are healthy,” he said. But Fernand Kartheiser argued that the system is not sustainable because it requires exponential growth. Kartheiser said he wanted to further reduce public debt to “rediscover our freedom”.
On the subject of housing, Étienne Schneider said he could envisage the expropriation of property as a last resort if it was in the public interest. David Wagener of Déi Lénk argued for the taxation of residential property that remains vacant for a long period of time in order to halt speculation and provide more housing.
François Bausch was keen to talk about mobility and the debate surrounding public transport, arguing that the DP’s promise of free public transport was “fake” and if thousands of people were added to the current passenger flow, “they would be sitting on the roof of trains like in India.”
Video highlights of the debate can be viewed on the Paperjam website here.