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Support for Juncker's conservatives declines in Luxembourg

Luxembourg's ruling party appears set to make losses in an early election that was called by premier Jean-Claude Juncker, according to initial polls. However, his conservative party appears set to be the largest party.

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Election in Luxembourg: Coalition ideas

Early results in the Luxembourg general election indicated that Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker's Christian Social People's (CSV) party would garner 33.4 percent of votes, the television channel RTL reported.

That would represent the party's worst showing in national polls since 1999, handing the CSV only 23 seats in the 60-seat parliament.

In the last election, held in 2009, Juncker's CSV won 26 seats in the assembly, making it the largest single party, having won 38 percent of the vote in 2009.

The CSV appears set once again to emerge as the biggest in parliament, meaning the CSV could form a coalition with the PSD. However, Juncker has not made clear his preference about which party he would prefer to form a coalition with.

The 58-year-old premier could still have his hopes of securing a new term in office dashed by a potential three-way coalition between the Social Democrats (PSD), the Liberals and the Greens.

The Greens stood at 10.6 per cent on Sunday, below their previous result of 11.7 per cent.

RTL's estimate showed the Social Democrats losing a little ground at 19.3 percent (down 2.3 percent), leaving them neck-to-neck with the opposition Liberals at 19.2 percent, who made a sharp gain of 4.2 percent.

Around 238,500 people were eligible to vote.

Undermined by spy scandal

Juncker's party has supplied the prime minister in every election but one since World War II, but recently lost the support of its one-time coalition partner, the Social Democrats.

The PSD was instrumental in forcing the early elections after revelations came to light that highlighted misdemeanors by the country' spying agency, the SREL. Allegations against the agency include illegal wiretapping of politicians and the keeping of files about private citizens. The agency was even implicated with dodgy dealing in luxury cars.

Juncker called for the early vote - seven months ahead of schedule - after a parliamentary inquiry in July blamed him in part for the abuses that occurred, given his ultimate responsibility for the country's intelligence service.

He served as head of the Eurogroup (eurozone finance ministers) for an eight-year period that ended in January. The premier had been accused of taking his eye off the domestic agenda during that period.

Juncker first joined the Luxembourg government in 1982, when only 28, and has sat at the top table ever since, serving as finance minister and then as premier from 1995.

rc/ipj (dpa, AFP, AP, Reuters)

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