LUXEMBOURG, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Luxembourg kicked off early general elections on Sunday, with more than 600 polling stations open from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. across the tiny but rich country in West Europe.
At dawn, voters started going to the polls under a drizzle. Eve Albach, a 40-year-old museum worker, said it was the first time for her to vote since she took the Luxembourg nationality two years ago.
"I will vote for the Democratic Party. We like Juncker, but I think we also need change," Albach said, who is of French origin and works in a local museum.
"I picked up politicians from different parties. I watched TV and I agree with their policy ideas," said Annette Pohu, another voter who is a language teacher and came to the polling station with her two sons aged 19 and 6.
Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg's economic and foreign trade minister, came to vote at a polling station set up in a downtown primary school at around 10:30 a.m. He is also the front runner for the center-left Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP).
"It's very difficult to predict the result, but I hope there will be a change," Schneider told reporters on site. He also told Xinhua that the China-Luxembourg relationship would be "extremely positive."
"We are trying to get the Chinese yuan platform for Europe in Luxembourg and we have already had many negotiations with Chinese companies," he said before leaving the polling station.
The snap election came three months after Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg for 18 years, resigned over a spying scandal in July.
In spite of the scandal, Juncker is seen by many as a trustworthy politician capable of protecting Luxembourg's national interests in Europe and elsewhere. His center-right Christian Social People' s Party (CSV) is still projected to top the poll.
The CSV has been the dominant partner in governing coalitions for decades, and Juncker is very likely to continue serving as the prime minister, unless other parties manage to form an alliance against the CSV.
Major political parties include the CSV, the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP), the Democratic Party(DP), the Green Party and the Communist Party (PCL).
The prime minister, to be appointed by the Grand Duke after the elections, is usually the leader of the party or the coalition of parties gaining the most seats in the parliament.
The parliament, or the 60-member Chamber of Deputies, is elected for a five-year term by proportional representation in four constituencies, namely the north, the south, the east and the center.
This year, nearly 238,600 voters are registered, or 6.6 percent higher than that of the 2009 election. Each voter has as many votes as there are members to be elected in his or her constituency.
Luxembourg has an obligatory voting system for citizens between the age of 18 and 75, thus guaranteeing a very high turnout each time. Votes by mail are only allowed for people over the age of 75 or living abroad, while unjustified failure to vote will result in a fine of at least 100 euros (137 U.S. dollars).
BRUSSELS, July 11 (Xinhua) - Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker has said he will convene the government Thursday and will suggest the Palace a snap election following a spying scandal.Full story
LUXEMBOURG, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Luxembourg, the tiny but rich country in West Europe, is set to hold early general elections on Sunday. The following is detailed information about the snap election and the electoral system in the world's last remaining Grand Duchy.Full story