Charles Margue, pictured, is the newest deputy with Déi Gréng, the Green party
Photo: Anthony Dehez
Just a year shy of retirement, demographer Charles Margue’s career is taking a different course.
When Margue stepped down from his role as head of survey firm TNS Ilres at the end of April, he had planned to read, walk and relax before the déi Gréng (Green party) national election campaign. Things didn’t quite go to plan, however. “I participated in meetings, interviews with people from groups and associations who contacted the party before the elections to express their complaints and air their grievances. I had the opportunity to help because I had free time.”
These interactions involved a lot of listening and asking questions, skills which Margue has perfected in the last 33 years of his career with TNS Ilres.
Whether it was this work, the strength of the Green platform or their campaigning, it paid off and Margue won the party a fourth seat in the centre, where the Greens secured 16% of the votes. Upon learning the news at his party’s gathering in den Atelier on Sunday, Margue said he was happily surprised and relieved. “I didn’t expect to be elected the first time. I thought perhaps I had a chance of replacing someone who took up a cabinet position,” he told Delano.
Working in parliament will not be a totally foreign experience. At TNS Ilres, he worked closely with the last government as a service provider, notably on the Rifkin report and nation branding where he “took the DNA of the country.”
This is why, when asked by François Bausch, the Green infrastructure minister, if he wanted to run as a Green candidate, Margue accepted the opportunity for “continuity”, assuming the new government would change little from the LSAP-DP-Déi Gréng coalition.
Photo: Maison Moderne/archives. Charles Margue, pictured centre, at a Paperjam Club event
“I can now contribute more directly,” he said, adding that he hopes his involvement will help to reduce the gap between politicians and the economy.
While Margue was never a member of Déi Gréng, or any political party, before now, he is a strong believer in social justice, in particular the sharing of resources and closing the gap between rich and poor. He insisted he has no ambitions to become a minister, modestly saying “there are more competent people than me,” before adding “that will be for later.”
With alarm bells being sounded on an almost weekly basis about the devastating effects of man-made global warming on the environment, it should come as little surprise that a party founded on the principles of environmental sustainability should gain ground. In the last Eurobarometer survey, 13% of Luxembourg respondents cited climate change as among the most important issues facing the EU. Margue insists déi Gréng is still far from being a “popular party, but I think the work the Greens did at government level was recognised,” he said.
Although demographic information on Green voters has yet to be published, Margue believes social media played a big role in mobilising support, explaining that candidates were given training in social media and making videos. “I discovered Facebook during the campaign,” Margue said, adding that although he spent his career doing public speaking, he had never learned how to make a video of himself until now. “It brings me a lot of pleasure to learn these things. I started my career in an office where we were discussing buying a fax machine. I finish it with Facebook and video campaigns.”