12.5% of Foreign Residents Registered to Vote So Far in Local Elections
(L-R) Emile Eicher, Syvicol President; Corinne Cahen, Luxembourg's Minister for Family Affairs and Integration; Credit: MFAMIGR
On Thursday 2 March 2023, Luxembourg's Minister for Family Affairs and Integration, Corinne Cahen, presented a mid-term review of the "I can vote" awareness campaign and the latest figures relating to the registration rate of non-Luxembourgish residents on the electoral rolls ahead of the municipal (local) elections on Sunday 11 June 2023.
Emile Eicher, President of Syvicol, which represents Luxembourg's 102 municipalities, accompanied Minister Cahen on this occasion.
The current registration rate of non-Luxembourgish residents is 12.5%, i.e. 32,197 people out of a total of 257,085 eligible voters have so far registered on the electoral rolls (224,888 potential voters still not registered).
Minister Cahen highlighted the importance of the political participation of every resident, regardless of their nationality, in the municipal elections. "Democracy only works if everyone participates. It is therefore important that non-Luxembourgers also register to vote and participate in the elections on 11 June 2023. Municipal politics affect the daily life of all of us," she said.
Emile Eicher pointed out that the municipalities are particularly close to citizens. "The municipalities have a whole range of important competences that directly affect the daily life of citizens: shelters and crèches, school transport, waste management, municipal planning and the promotion of housing. I therefore encourage all municipalities to participate in our National Registration Day [on 18 March 2023] and open their doors to all their citizens so that that they can register to vote."
Following the amendment of the electoral law in July 2022, non-Luxembourgish residents now have the right to vote in the municipal elections regardless of how long they have lived in Luxembourg; previously, they had to have been resident in the Grand Duchy for at least five years.
In May 2022, the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region and its partners launched the "I can vote" campaign to raise awareness and inform all non-Luxembourgish residents about their right to participate in the municipal elections on 11 June. The ministry's activities as part of this campaign include: the creation of awareness-raising material (posters, leaflets and a dedicated website in five languages: icanvote.lu); sending a communication package to the municipalities, the contractual partners of the integration department, political parties and (subject to demand) various companies, trade unions, youth centres and doctors' practices; the development of explanatory and testimonial videos, as well as raising awareness on social media; regular participation in events with an information stand; two GRESILs (exchange and support groups for integration at the local level), which bring together local and regional actors to exchange on issues related to living together, focused on the theme of civic and political participation. Moreover, the ministry selected three projects promoting political participation through a call for projects under the PAN Integration 2022.
Together with CEFIS and EMN Luxembourg, the ministry will also organise the event "i can email@example.com" at the University of Luxembourg on Thursday 9 March 2023 to inform non-Luxembourgish students about their right to vote. The ministry is cooperating closely with Luxembourg's Ministry of Education, Children and Youth to create an awareness campaign in the different educational institutions, for example by screening short information films at the beginning of classes. Furthermore, the Chamber of Employees (Chambre des Salariés) has been distributing flyers to participants of its training courses. Since February 2023, many companies have participated in an awareness-raising campaign for their employees, where the ministry presents the electoral modalities and encourages employees to register in the electoral rolls of their municipalities of residence.
Together with the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Equality between Women and Men and Syvicol, the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region will organise a National Registration Day on 18 March 2023 (i.e. one month before the 17 April 2023 deadline for non-Luxembourgers to register).
In order to closely monitor the evolution of registrations on the electoral rolls, the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region is working with the Government IT Centre (CTIE) to obtain statistics on registrations broken down by certain individual characteristics and by municipality of residence. Minister Cahen presented the new statistics on registrations to the press on Thursday: "People can feel when the elections are approaching. If 1,633 people registered to vote in January, 2,206 [registered] in February." The aim of the statistics, according to the ministry, is to be able to identify the groups of residents for whom the registration rate remains low and for whom information and awareness-raising efforts must continue by offering them incentives to participate in this democratic process, which is open to all.