Following negotiations led by the LSAP, the DP, déi Gréng, CSV, Pirate Party, déi Lénk, ADR, Fokus and Volt on 23 January signed a campaign agreement to ensure fair elections in June and October.
“We stand for a fair and factual campaign,” said Dan Biancalana (LSAP), speaking on behalf of the signatories. “What’s important is the respect between the parties, between candidates.”
As part of the agreement, parties pledge not to hurl personal insults during the campaign, not to spread misinformation or fake news or otherwise slander their opponents.
Under the deal, parties will commence their campaigns for the local elections four weeks before the ballot on 11 June. For the national elections on 8 October, five weeks of campaigning are foreseen.
For both campaigns, they can spend a maximum of €100,000 on advertising in the media and on social media, although this does not include production costs, for example of TV spots.
Spending is up from €75,000 under previous agreements. Smaller parties like déi Lénk, the Pirate Party and Fokus on Monday said they would have welcomed smaller spending budgets. Déi Lénk in 2017 had refused to sign the local elections agreement citing the high budget as a sticking point.
The budget does not include campaigning to sign up non-nationals to voter registration lists. Déi Lénk last week presented a push to get foreigners to vote in Luxembourg City. Other parties, too, are trying to woo the international community for their votes.
No legal basis
Monday’s agreement regulates the number of gadgets parties produce, limits letterbox campaigning and stipulates that ministers and sitting commune candidates will not abuse official channels for their campaigns.
In France, the so-called “période de réserve” provides a strict legal framework on the public appearances of officeholders during election campaign. Luxembourg has no such laws, but parties present on 23 January said it is something to consider in future.
Because of the lack of legal framework, parties for years have met to sign a voluntary agreement. Without a legal basis it also means, however, that there are no fines or other ramifications if the rules are broken.
“It’s a moral commitment,” said Biancalana, adding that it was up to the parties to ensure their members understand and stick to the rules and that leadership must be a role model in the process.