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Luxembourg PM Bettel seeks to renew liberal-led coalition

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By Reuters
Luxembourg PM Bettel seeks to renew liberal-led coalition

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel will seek to re-form his liberal-led coalition after an election on Sunday gave the three ruling parties just enough seats to remain in government.

Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Henri asked Bettel to form the next government on Tuesday, noting in a statement that Bettel’s Democratic Party, the Socialist Workers Party (LSAP) and the Greens had expressed a desire to start coalition negotiations.

Opinion polls before Sunday’s election had indicated the Christian Social People’s Party (CSV) – which was led for 19 years by EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker – would end Bettel’s five-year term as prime minister.

The CSV was again the largest party, but actually lost seats, as did the LSAP and the Democratic Party. However, because the Greens gained, the three parties in government have 31 seats in the 60-seat chamber.

The CSV was pushed out of government for only the second time since World War Two in a snap election Juncker called in 2013 after a wire-tapping scandal.

Unlike some neighbouring countries, where migration has boosted anti-immigrant parties, the far right has not made inroads in Luxembourg.

However, in 2015 Luxembourgers decisively rejected giving the vote to the 48 percent of the population who are foreigners, mostly from Portugal, France and other EU countries.

Whatever the future government, the foreign policy of the European Union’s wealthiest but second-smallest state is unlikely to change much.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)