Étienne Schneider, serving deputy prime minister, speaks at a LSAP party conference, 16 March 2018.
As the general election on 14 October approaches, we continue or series introducing readers to Luxembourg’s main political parties, their origins and what they stand for nowadays. Today we present the LSAP, the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party.
Delano: When was your party created? Who founded it?
LSAP: The first social democrats elected to the Chamber of Deputies (Luxembourg parliament) were Caspar Mathias Spoo (1896) and Dr Michel Welter (1897).
On 26 January 1902 a local section of what was then called the Social Democratic Association for Luxembourg and the surrounding area (Sozialdemokratischer Verein für Luxemburg und Umgebung) was founded by Dr Michel Welter, Jacques Thilmany, Michel Dapp, Jean Schaack-Wirth, Franz Merens, Georges Droessart and Servais Thomas.
The Social Democratic Party as we now know it was founded on 5 January 1903. In 1914, Jean Schortgen was the first deputy from the working class to be elected and, in 1919, the first woman socialist Marguerite Thomas, was elected to parliament--both from the LSAP.
Delano: Why was it created? What were its guiding principles at the time?
LSAP: At the end of the 19th century, the middle classes and the poorest social classes (workers, employees, railway workers etc.) were poorly represented in the Chamber of Deputies, which was at that time composed mainly of dignitaries.
The first social democratic deputies fought for workers’ rights--an eight-hour working day, national insurance as well as the right of association, to create unions and the right to strike. Access to education for all and universal suffrage were also high on their agenda.
Delano: How have they changed over the years?
LSAP: The Socialist Workers Party has remained faithful to its founding principles of social justice, solidarity, freedom and equality, which it has adapted over time in keeping the evolution of society, the progress of science and technology, and external influences.
Thus, over the decades, new pillars have been raised to strengthen the foundations of socialism in Luxembourg, such as support for the process of European integration, the emancipation of women and social minorities, ecology and solidarity, as well as cooperation with developing countries, etc.
Delano: In short, why should voters choose your party in October?
LSAP: The LSAP continues to make the fight for social justice its "core business", with an electoral programme focused resolutely on the defence and extension of social rights in an era of globalisation and the digitisation of all aspects of life.
Given its internationalist tradition, and given the composition of the resident population, another priority of the LSAP is to strengthen social cohesion in Luxembourg. In addition, through better integration of non-Luxembourg residents into the social, cultural and political life of the country, the consolidation and expansion of our open and tolerant society.
Please note that Delano is introducing the political parties for your information only, not to promote one over the other.