This weekend, a few days after his State of the Nation speech in the Chamber of Deputies, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel (DP) announced on the RTL programme Background that he would approach the next elections with the aim of remaining prime minister or at least minister in the next government. One of his biggest rivals in the race could well be Paulette Lenert, the figurehead of the social party LSAP.
“Motivated” for the elections
In an interview with Paperjam, the current deputy prime minister and minister of health was asked about the upcoming general elections in October 2023 and the possibility of heading the socialist party's list. “That is a decision that will be taken internally, and we have not talked about it yet. It will only be decided next spring, as in most parties. But I am motivated, and the desire to be involved in politics is there,” she explained.
A position that should reassure some within the socialist party who, behind the scenes, wondered about the ambitions of this 54-year-old minister, who entered the government discreetly in 2018 (with consumer protection but also cooperation and humanitarian action as attributions), before taking over the ministry of health in 2020 and being propelled into the limelight by the covid-19 pandemic.
I have the feeling that every issue is good for trying to make people believe that I am not up to the task.
She became a target
The health crisis helped her gain popularity, even making her the most popular political figure in the country. A status that has also made her an adversary to beat in the upcoming legislative elections.
“If I feel like a target today? Yes. I feel that every issue is a good one to try to make it look like I'm not up to it. I'm even hearing that managing the pandemic was easy. I must admit that when I get up in the morning, I don't tell myself that I haven't been up to the task.”
“Respect” for the office of prime minister
When asked about her desire to become prime minister, Paulette Lenert showed political skill in her answer, explaining that “all posts are interesting, with their charm and their challenges,” while being careful not to say no to a position that inspires “a certain respect.”
“Do I imagine myself in this position in a year's time? I'm not the kind of person to project myself onto a position like that,” she continued. “Besides, if you had asked me the same question six months before I arrived at the ministry of health, you would have received the same answer... So let's see if this question really arises first.”
Originally published in French by Paperjam and translated for Delano.