Majority unaware of details of constitution reform

Prime minister Xavier Bettel, pictured during his state of the nation address on 12 October.  Romain Gamba / Maison Moderne

Prime minister Xavier Bettel, pictured during his state of the nation address on 12 October.  Romain Gamba / Maison Moderne

The petition demanding a referendum on the revision of the Constitution will take place on 25 November. However, many people aren’t informed enough about the changes to the constitution prime minister Xavier Bettel (DP) announced during his state of the nation speech.

57% kept up with state of the nation

Out of the 1,016 participants of the TNS Ilres survey, the vast majority (72%) thought the political situation of Luxembourg to be stable. However, only 57% actually kept up with the state of the nation. The 18-24 age group, which comprises many first-time voters, however, indicated that they either hadn’t heard about the state of the nation address (33%) or didn’t inform themselves about the proposed changes (33%).

In comparison, the other age groups ranging from 25 to 65+ years old, mostly kept themselves informed about the situation either by following the speech live or by reading about it in the press.

The danger of holding a referendum

Petition n.2007 gathered a record-breaking 18,579 signatures, when only 4,500 are needed for a petition to reach the Chamber. Its initiators argue that the constitutional reform should be debated by citizens as some changes could impact their lives and individual rights.

Yet, despite the long list of signatories, the TNS Ilres study found that 70% of people on average didn’t even know what changes were going to be made to the constitution. Only 3% said they were very well informed, and 26% somewhat well-informed.

Tommy Klein of TNS Ilres, in an interview with RTL, worries that the uninformed and their votes will be manipulated by those who consider the Luxembourg society unfair.

Currently, 63% of survey participants shared that they didn’t know whether a new constitution should be adopted, while 25% was for the adoption and 8% against it.

Majority of positive responses to new measures

The measures announced by Bettel generally met with acceptance from survey participants. For instance, 86% of people agreed that children from low- and medium-income households should have free access to tutoring, and 81% were in favour of free meals for the same children.

More strikingly, 95% supported further promotion of local and seasonal production and consumption of products… while 21% only were for the abandonment of combustion powered vehicles by 2030. The EIB had mentioned previously that 63% of Luxembourg citizens surveyed had been in favour of stricter rules to help the environment. Green party Déi Gréng voters--a mere 51% majority--were the only ones in favour of the switch.

Most voters (62%) were also for a higher taxation of empty accommodation and unused land. This measure hopes to help address the housing crisis that constitutes the biggest worry of participants. 

Majority disapprove of cannabis and new voting laws

When asked whether foreigners who have moved to Luxembourg less than five years ago should have a right to vote, the vast majority (66%) answered no. Those mainly in favour of the vote for newcomers were those with a higher education level (35%), those from the central region (31%) and Déi Gréng voters (45%). The grand duchy has the highest rate of immigration in the EU, with 16,3/1,000 per annum, in contrast with the 2,6/1,000 EU average.  

Lastly, many were not in favour of the new law that would allow each Luxembourg household to grow up to 4 cannabis plants, with only 40% being supportive of the law. The measure had been discussed in a package concerning the consumption of narcotics in Luxembourg.