Philippe Poirier is a professor of political science at the University of Luxembourg and holds the research chair in parliamentary studies at the Chamber of Deputies. Photo: Romain Gamba/Maison Moderne/Archives

Philippe Poirier is a professor of political science at the University of Luxembourg and holds the research chair in parliamentary studies at the Chamber of Deputies. Photo: Romain Gamba/Maison Moderne/Archives

For political scientist Philippe Poirier, Luxembourg’s recent parliamentary elections bore witness to a profound transformation in values, in both the economic and social spheres. Delano’s sister publication Paperjam spoke to the professor about what the election results mean.

Paperjam: What factors explain the results of the legislative elections on 8 October?

: The themes that mobilised typical voters were materialist: housing, purchasing power, inflation, taxation and pensions. The environment and the climate agenda only came later, with economic reform and public policy being the central themes. Movements that failed to include these materialist issues were punished at the ballot box.

Do these elections reflect a change in the values and concerns of Luxembourg’s citizens?

The DP are the big winners. Despite some wear and tear, difficulties in certain ministries and the replacement of (DP), they have made progress everywhere--and particularly in the south, where a new electorate is emerging that is more sensitive to liberal ideas. The rise of the Christian Socialists--who were expected to lose a significant number of seats--also comes down to economic considerations. And we have seen a lot of cross-fertilisation between the DP and the CSV. The gains made by these two parties were independent of the political personalities of (CSV) and (DP).

Is the ADR also among the winners?

Despite its difficulties, dissidents and comparatively lessor resources, the ADR has done very well. It was driven by voters’ concerns about their economic future. And, as luck would have it, it was in the northern and southern constituencies where there was the greatest potential for these votes. The language issue played a role too, albeit a marginal one.

So voters were more concerned about the end of the month than the end of the world.

The end of the month, but also and above all support for economic growth. There is a hierarchy of themes in society. And Luxembourg society has a more materialistic side than a post-materialistic one. In 2013 and 2018--different economic situations--voters might have been sensitive to other themes, other issues. Not so today. We forget that, over ten years, work and the economy have always been the top two concerns of Luxembourgers. And this has intensified over the last two years.

Still on the subject of values, would it be fair to say that Luxembourg’s political landscape is becoming more right-wing, as is the case in much of Europe?

No. Compared to Europe’s centre-right parties, the CSV and the DP--in their respective political families--are more in the centre, or even the centre-left. The CSV has always been the left wing of the European People’s Party (the conservative camp in the European Parliament) and the DP are the left wing of Renew. We need to put the right-wing movement into perspective: the recent campaign was not about social choices or societal issues. Identity and immigration were not an issue--except in the case of the ADR, whose progress is nevertheless not exactly lightning-fast. Nobody questioned the social system or the welfare state.

This article was originally published in the  issue of Paperjam magazine. It has been translated and edited for Delano.