The Minister for Family Affairs and Integration, Corinne Cahen, the Minister for Home Affairs, Taina Bofferding, and the Minister of Justice, Sam Tanson, are pleased with yesterday's vote in the Chamber of Deputies on the law amending the amended electoral law of 18 February 2003.
The amendments aim in particular at abolishing the five-year residence clause for foreign nationals wishing to register on the electoral lists for the communal elections and at extending the deadline for registering on these lists. The aim of these changes is to facilitate the participation of foreign nationals in municipal elections. In addition, specific amendments are made to take account of the two major changes planned.
Thanks to these changes, any citizen will now be able to take part in municipal elections, regardless of their nationality and length of residence. The abolition of the 5-year residence clause applies to all non-Luxembourg citizens, whether they are European or from a third country.
The Minister for Home Affairs, Taina Bofferding, hopes that these measures will lead to "an increased participation of foreigners in the political life of the country. Because even though the registration rate has been rising steadily since 1999, the 22.8% achieved in the 2017 municipal elections is far from satisfactory!"
An important contribution to a higher registration rate is to be made by the national awareness-raising and information campaign "I can vote". It aims to make citizens aware of the importance of having a say in the future of their community.
According to figures from the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region and the Centre for Intercultural and Social Studies and Training (CEFIS), 33% (75,226 people) were unable to register on the electoral roll before the 2017 elections because they had not yet lived in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg for at least five years.
The Minister for Family Affairs and Integration stressed the importance and impact of this change: "People get the right to vote as soon as they arrive in their commune. They can immediately participate in political life and they can integrate more easily by taking an interest in the political decisions that affect their lives."
Another important change to increase political participation concerns the deadline for non-Luxembourg nationals to register to vote. In order to allow more non-Luxembourg citizens to participate in municipal elections, the government aims to extend the deadline for non-Luxembourg citizens to register to vote by 32 days. Thus, the last day of registration on the electoral roll, and therefore the day of the provisional closure of the roll, is postponed from the 87th to the 55th day before the elections.
The Minister of Justice emphasised the importance of reducing the registration deadlines as much as possible: "In order to facilitate the registration of non-Luxembourg nationals on the electoral roll, we have introduced an accelerated procedure with the Administrative Court. This measure will save a considerable amount of time for the entire required registration process. Our ultimate goal remains to include our non-Luxembourg citizens in the democratic process, because we consider the right to vote to be an essential factor of integration."
Press release by the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Justice