Lydie Polfer: the incumbent DP mayor in Luxembourg City must decide whether to continue her party’s coalition with Sam Tanson's Déi Gréng in the face of strong gains made by the CSV.
Photo: Anthony Dehez
mixed results at local elections
On a night packed with significant gains for the CSV party in the local elections, no result has come as more of a shock than the LSAP losing its traditional stronghold of Esch-Alzette.
The beauty of local elections in the grand duchy is that they seem to be just that; local. Where larger countries often see local elections used as a protest vote against, or, more rarely, as a vote of confidence in, the incumbent national government in Luxembourg local issues and personalities win or lose the day.
But some results still come as a shock, and the fall of the socialist LSAP in one of its southern bastions, Esch-Alzette, counts as one of the biggest surprises of the 2017 local elections--“a political earthquake” as more than one commentator put it. The CSV enjoyed a gain of 11.7% of the vote, which translated into 2 more seats on the 19 seat council. With the LSAP under mayor Vera Spautz losing 3 seats (and a 10.6% fall in its share of the vote), the two major parties both have 6 seats.
To prove this was not a vote against the government, the LSAP’s two coalition partners at national level, Déi Gréng and the DP, both gained a seat. Spautz was quick to concede that although her party has the same number of seats as the CSV, it was up to the conservative’s lead candidate George Mischo (who won 183 more personal cotes that Spautz) to form a coalition to govern the city.
There was also joy for the CSV in the capital city, where Serge Wilmes led the party to a gain of 2 seats on the council and a 6% increase in its share of the vote. Lydie Polfer’s incumbent DP, which has governed the city with different coalition partners for the majority of the post-war period, lost one seat. But the Greens retained their 5 seats and could theoretically continue their coalition with the DP which was formed after the 2005 elections.
However, Polfer will be under pressure to acknowledge the swing to the CSV. In the capital, the LSAP also lost 1 seat (it now has 3), while the left wing Déi Lénk retained its 2 seats and the ADR’s Roy Reding also kept his place on the council.
Mixed fortunes for Déi Gréng
Other significant results saw Henri Kox and his Green party lost control of Remich council, which now has a DP-CSV coalition. However, the Greens strengthen its control of Differdange, gaining four seats to take its total to 7 of the 19-seat council. It gained a 20.8% share of the vote while the DP saw its share fall by 22% as its lost 4 seats.
And despite a 3.6% fall in the share of its vote in Dudelange, the LSAP managed to gain over 50% of the vote and retain its 10 seats which gives it an overall majority on the 19-seat council in another of its traditional strongholds. The CSV performed well here, too, however, gaining 2 seats to take its total to 5 on the council.