François Bausch, the Green party’s lead candidate (centre), chats with Claude Wiseler, the CSV’s lead candidate (right), in front of a polling place, 14 October 2018. Photo credit: Nader Ghavami
A roundup of the national elections in Luxembourg, plus polls in Germany and Belgium. Delano’s breakfast briefing for Monday.
Luxembourg elections: Greens did better, CSV worse than expected
The Gambia coalition of the DP, LSAP and Green party, which entered government in 2013, won a collective 31 out of 60 seats in Sunday’s parliamentary election, reported Bloomberg, Delano and Reuters. The Greens and ADR gained seats and the Pirate party entered parliament for the first time. The DP, LSAP and CSV all lost seats. Prior to the election, polls indicated that the CSV would return to power, as reported by Reuters. 31 seats are needed to form a government.
Forming a coalition
While the CSV remained the single largest party, it may struggle to find coalition partners. The Green justice minister Félix Braz was quoted by Politico as saying: “A coalition with the CSV is mathematically impossible, so there is only one possibility: a continuation of the three-party coalition…. The coalition has done better than the polls and has been confirmed.” François Bausch, head of the Green ticket and outgoing infrastructure minister, was quoted by Bloomberg as telling RTL: “What is clear is that people want the Greens to be in government,” Deutsche Welle said that Xavier Bettel, the outgoing DP prime minister, “was expected to meet” Grand Duke Henri to discuss his coalition on Monday.
There were other elections across Europe on Sunday. In the German state of Bavaria, the conservative CSU party, part of chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, lost its majority while the Green party picked up seats. That’s been reported by the BBC, DW and the Financial Times. The CSU won about 37% of the vote; it’s still the largest single party but it had had an absolute majority in Bavaria’s state parliament since 1957. The Greens, with about 18% of the vote, become the second largest party. The right-wing Free Voters and populist AfD also gained votes. The state result could force a federal cabinet reshuffle, as Merkel’s interior minister, Horst Seehofer, is CSU chairman and may feel pressure to resign.
Belgium: Greens do well in Brussels city poll
The Green party also gained votes in Belgian local elections. They “finished second in Brussels city elections, and may yet take the mayoralty as part of a new left-wing coalition,” according to Politico.
Brexit: Inconclusive talks between Barnier and Raab
Also in Brussels on Sunday, Dominic Raab, the UK’s Brexit minister, met with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier. The two sides remained struck on the “backstop” (how the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will be treated while the final EU-UK agreement is reached). Barnier will meet Theresa May, the British prime minister, on Wednesday. Coverage by the BBC, Irish Times and Reuters.
Eurozone: ESM expansion
Der Spiegel looked at the possible transformation of the European Stability Mechanism, the eurozone rescue fund based in Kirchberg, into a European IMF. The magazine quoted the ESM’s chief, Klaus Regling, as saying: “Were the ESM to get all of the new assignments that are currently being discussed, we would have to increase our staff from 180 to 250 in the coming years.”
Khashoggi: Chief executives cancel Saudi trip
The bosses of Ford and JP Morgan pulled out of Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh (sometimes called “Davos in the desert”) over the weekend in response to the disappearance of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to CNBC, the Guardian, and Reuters. The CEOs of Viacom and Uber had already cancelled, as did media organisations including Bloomberg, CNN, the Financial Times and New York Times.
Wall Street: Investors prepare for “more downside”
MarketWatch said last week’s stock market slide is probably not over.
Steel: ArcelorMittal sells several sites
ArcelorMittal sold plants in the Czech Republic, Italy, Macedonia and Romania to Liberty House for an undisclosed amount, reported Reuters. The sales were needed to comply with a European Commission agreement over the steelmaker’s takeover of the Italian firm Ilva. ArcelorMittal also needs to sell facilities in Dudelange and in Belgium, but the firm said in a press release that “negotiations are ongoing with parties regarding” those transactions.