All Luxembourg citizens who are registered voters directly elect the 60 members of the Chamber of Deputies (Chambre des députés). The Chamber of Deputies is the national Parliament in the Luxembourgish unicameral system. Elections to replace outgoing deputies are held automatically every 5 years.
In principle, legislative elections take place on the same day and the same month as the previous legislative elections. If that day is not a Sunday, the elections are moved to the Sunday preceding the day in question.
To stand for election, candidates must satisfy several eligibility criteria.
The country is divided into 4 electoral districts:
- the South (23 deputies), comprising the cantons of Esch-sur-Alzette and Capellen;
- the East (7 deputies), comprising the cantons of Grevenmacher, Remich and Echternach;
- the Centre (21 deputies), comprising the cantons of Luxembourg and Mersch;
- the North (9 deputies), comprising the cantons of Diekirch, Redange, Wiltz, Clervaux and Vianden.
The election uses the list system. In each electoral district, the political parties or groups of candidates running for office must compile candidate lists, on which the number of candidates may not exceed the number of deputies to be elected in the district. The candidate lists can be presented for only one or for several electoral districts.
Independent candidates are considered as forming their own list.
Who is concerned
To be eligible to stand for the legislative elections, prospective candidates must:
- be of Luxembourgish nationality;
- be at least 18 years of age on the day of the election;
- enjoy one's civil and political rights;
- be domiciled in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
The loss of any one of the eligibility criteria invalidates the mandate.
The following are not eligible to stand for legislative election:
- persons stripped of their eligibility following a conviction;
- persons stripped of their right to vote following a conviction;
- individuals who have been convicted of criminal offences;
- persons over 18 who are under guardianship.
Persons whose professions render them ineligible
The following categories of people may not be elected to the Chamber of Deputies:
- civil servants, employees or workers paid by the State, by a public-sector establishment subject to government supervision, by a commune or association of communes, or by a public-sector establishment under the supervision of a commune, or agents paid by the Luxembourg National Railway Company (Société nationale des chemins de fer luxembourgeois);
- members of the executive branch or of the Council of State, unless they agree to resign in the event that they are elected to the Parliament;
- deputies who are related by blood, by marriage or by partnership up to the second degree; if they are both elected, the elected candidate is chosen by lottery;
- Judicial Court magistrates;
members of the Court of Auditors;
the district commissioners (commissaires de district);
State receivers or accountants;
active members of the military.
If a deputy accepts an assignment, employment or mission that is incompatible with their mandate as deputy, they are automatically stripped of that mandate.
At least 65 days prior to the election, the chief polling officer of the principal polling station in the electoral district publishes a notice setting the days, times and location where the officer will receive candidate applications and witness appointments.
All candidate lists must be delivered at least 60 days prior to the date of the election, for the Southern district, to the court clerk of the Justice of the Peace of Esch-sur-Alzette; for the Eastern district, in the commune of Grevenmacher at the place designated by the president of the District Court of Luxembourg; for the Central district, to the court clerk of the District Court of Luxembourg; and for the Northern district, to the court clerk of the District Court of Diekirch.
When the deadline for submitting candidate applications passes, the chief polling officer of the principal polling station in the district finalises the candidate lists in the order in which the candidates submitted their applications.
How to proceed
Preparing a candidate application
Each candidate prepares a candidate application, which must satisfy certain requirements. In particular, the application must:
- specify the candidate's last name, given name(s), occupation and address;
- contain the acceptance of their candidacy in the constituency; and
- be dated and signed.
Drawing up a list of candidates and representatives
Deputies are elected by list, with seats being distributed among the different candidate lists in proportion to the number of votes that they receive: a candidate in a legislative election must therefore be part of a list composed of a group of candidates. A list cannot include more candidates than the number of deputies to elect in the district.
Each list of candidates is presented:
- either by 100 voters registered in the district;
- or by an outgoing or incumbent deputy elected in the district, or by 3 communal councillors elected in one or more communes within the district.
Independent candidates are considered as forming their own list.
Each list must be filed by a representative:
- if a list is presented jointly by 100 voters, the representative is appointed by and from among those 100 representatives of the list;
- if a list is presented jointly by a deputy or three communal councillors, the representative is chosen from among the candidates on the list or the elected officials representing it.
Satisfying additional conditions
In addition to these formalities, the following conditions also apply:
- no person may appear, either as candidate or as representative, on more than one list in the same district;
- no person may be a candidate in more than one district;
- each list must bear a name; in the event that different lists bear the same name, the representatives will establish the necessary distinctions, failing which the chief polling officer of the principal polling station in the district will denote the lists by a capital letter in the order in which they were filed;
- notifications concerning and additions to the list may be submitted before the candidate application deadline:
- a candidate registered on a list may only be removed if they notify the chief polling officer of the principal polling station in the district, by bailiff's deed, of their desire to withdraw;
- any list may be supplemented with the names of candidates who are presented by all the signatories to the list.
The chief polling officer of the principal polling station records the candidate lists in the order in which they are presented and issues a receipt to each representative in the representative's name.
Designation of witnesses and alternate witnesses
On submitting their candidate lists, each representative may nominate no more than one witness and one alternate witness from among the voters of each polling station to observe the voting process.