“Two election campaigns in one year are exceptional,” said party president Lex Delles during a welcome speech. Voters in Luxembourg head to the polls for communal elections in June and national elections in October.
The start of the year brought public squabbles between the three government coalition parties, notably over a reform of rent laws. But Delles said instead of arguing, the DP wants to continue delivering solutions. “That’s what matters.”
However, the DP president also shot back against potential plans by the LSAP to reduce weekly working hours. Labour minister Georges Engel (LSAP) last year had announced a feasibility study. The results have not yet been unveiled.
Delles instead called for more flexibility and remote working arrangements. “That’s the right way, not a general cut of working hours,” he said to cheers from the crowd.
“No bei dir” (close to you) was the motto of the evening but the party’s secretary general, Carole Hartmann, said it’s not the party’s campaign slogan, which will be unveiled at a later stage.
Candidate reveal on 4 March
On 4 March, the DP will present its lists for the local elections in June. A date for a party congress ahead of the October national elections has not yet been set, but Hartmann told Delano she expects this to happen in July.
The party is working towards achieving a “blue wave” in both ballots, she told the assembled guests, with the party’s colour being blue.
Prime minister Xavier Bettel showered praise on his members of cabinet and parliament, saying policymakers are facing difficult challenges that require balanced measures. “Populists have the shortest answers to complicated questions,” he said.
Work in parliament
Some 137 draft laws are still pending in parliament, said Gilles Baum, who leads the DP’s group in parliament. If they don’t come to a vote before the summer break, they risk being delayed by the October elections. “We know we still have a lot of work ahead,” Baum told Delano.
Finance minister Yuriko Backes (DP) previously said that should the financial situation allows it, there could be piecemeal reforms of the tax system. A complete overhaul foreseen in the 2018-2023 coalition programme was shelved during the pandemic. Any policy announcements should be known by the spring, Baum said.
“We are focusing on our work until the last moment,” he said, adding that the three coalition parties would continue working together in parliament.