Luxembourg says ′No′ to giving the vote to foreigners | News | DW | 07.06.2015
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Luxembourg says 'No' to giving the vote to foreigners

In a national referendum, Luxembourgians have voted against according foreign nationals full voting rights. If the proposal had been accepted, it would have increased the country's electorate by as much as 50 percent.

Preliminary results in Sunday's landmark referendum showed that only about one in five voters backed giving longtime foreign residents in Luxembourg the right to take part in national elections.

The referendum was called by liberal prime Minister Xavier Bettel as part of his modernizing agenda for the grand duchy.

"There is no other European country where only 40 percent of the population elects its representatives," he told journalists before the vote.

About 46 percent of the country's total population of 565,000 are foreigners, with 16.4 percent being Portuguese, followed by French nationals at seven percent, Italians at 3.5 percent, Belgians at 3.3 percent and Germans at 2.3 percent.

Non-European foreigners such as Cape Verdians, North Americans and Chinese account for a further seven percent.

'No' to all proposals

A majority for "Yes" would have seen all foreigners who had lived in the country for more than 10 years given full voting rights.

The move would also have been unprecedented in Europe.

Other proposals voted on and rejected by clear majorities at the referendum were lowering the voting age from 18 to 16 and restricting ministers' terms in office to 10 years.

The latter proposal came in reaction to the 19-year rule of Bettel's conservative predecessor, Jean-Claude Juncker, now the president of the European Commission.

Juncker's Christian Social People's party (CSV) called for a "No" on the voting issue, while the business community and civil society groups backed the "Yes" campaign.

tj/rc (AFP, Reuters)

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