Luxembourg’s State Council, an advisory body on legal matters, on Thursday expressed its opposition to deferring the dissolution of parliament until early October if elections are to be held on 20 October. The legislature should be dissolved immediately and elections held within three months when there is a substantial and serious rift within the coalition or between the government and the parliament, the State Council said in a written opinion. Most political parties disagreed.
The Council said that there was no reason for parliament to remain in place, as there would be no majority to support a government until the elections.
The State Council also stressed that the parliament had not made use of the measures at its disposal to oblige the government to resign. MPs indeed never voted on the motions of the LSAP and the opposition, which called for a resignation of the government.
“This is a situation that is difficult to reconcile with the spirit of the Constitution, which is based on the principles of parliamentary democracy,” the Council said.
There are two ways to solve the issue – either the Prime Minister and the government resign, or MPs force the government to resign by voting down a motion of confidence. To do so, parliament would have to reconvene for a special session, as it is in recess over the summer.
Political parties were quick to disagree with the views of the State Council. “The Institutions Commission of the Parliament met today and does not necessarily share the views of the State Council”, Socialist Party chairman Alex Bodry said. “The Grand Duke could dissolve parliament at a later date, because if the government continues to work it must be subject to parliamentary control.” Bodry’s views were echoed by the CSV, the Liberals and the Greens.
The only dissenting voice in parliament came from far-left MP Serge Urbany (Déi Lénk), who said that the opinion of the State Council should not be ignored. The Pirate Party, preparing for its first general elections, also called on the government to follow the views of the State Council and resign. “This institutional chaos shows one thing, however: Luxembourg needs a proper Constitutional Court to issue binding decisions on these matters”, party chairman Sven Clement said in a press release.
The Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker Laurent Mosar met on Thursday evening with Grand Duke Henri to reiterate their demand for early elections.
“I once again imparted the view of the government to the Grand Duke that we would like to have elections on 20 October. The Grand Duke will now hold the necessary consultations. It is my expectation and the expectation of the government that we will be able to vote on 20 October because I believe that our country really needs new elections”, the Prime Minister told media after the meeting.
The Grand Duke was due to receive the chairs of the parliamentary groups on Friday.
If elections are to be held on 20 October and announced three months in advance, as speculated by media, the Grand Duke would need to call them by Saturday, 20 July.
(Sources: wort.lu / rtl.lu / Radio 100,7)
- Full text of the Opinion of the State Council (in French)