The smiles belie the upset for Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker who has suffered significant losses in the country’s elections on Sunday. Though his centre-right party will have 23 of parliament’s 60 seats, it is down three from 2009.
It will come as a blow to the EU’s longest standing premier, who has served 18 years at the head of the Grand Duchy.
As head of the largest party he now faces the task of forming a government, but he is remaining tight-lipped about whom he may choose to join him.
“Basically I have a good feeling. We are the strongest party in this country and that is meaningful for the building of the next government,” explained Juncker minutes after his victory speech at his party headquarters.
Tied in second place with 13 seats are the Socialist party and the Democratic party. The former are Juncker’s outgoing coalition partners. It was their withdrawal from the government in July over a spying scandal which led to the elections being held 7 months early.
The liberal Democratic party gained 4 more seats from the last election and now look like an appealing junior coalition partner for Juncker. But they made overtures to forming an alternative government without him.
“I think its too early to discuss coalitions, and different types of coalition. Now we have to analyse the result. But what is already clear now, Luxembourg has voted for a change and its our mission to realise the change for the next years,” said Claude Meisch, leader of opposition Democratic Party speaking to euronews correspondent Sandor Zsiros.
It may be a win for Juncker’s Christian Social People’s party, but the opposition parties are snapping at his heels. And if they can find a way to cooperate, they may just call his bluff.