The citizens of Luxembourg said “no” in a referendum held on Sunday which was intended to give foreign residents full voting rights in national elections as 45 percent of the citizens residing in Luxembourg are foreigners.
Only 22 percent of the nation's 546,000 population supported the call for a referendum, backed by prime minister Xavier Bettel, to boost democracy and diversity.
Bettel, just before the referendum, had said that “There is no other European country where only 40 percent of the population elects its representatives.”
The referendum asked whether foreigners who had lived in Luxembourg for 10 years should be eligible to vote in Luxembourg's national elections.
A campaign organised by many business leaders in an effort to promote the referendum in a newspaper advert said that the referendum was “a unique opportunity for Luxembourg and no danger to Luxemburgers.”
However, 78 percent of Luxembourgers clearly disagreed with the call and many support the proposal of the country’s opposition Christian Social People's party that foreign residents should rather apply for Luxembourg citizenship.
Many of the foreigners in Luxembourg are Portuguese and on a daily basis 150,000 employees travel from Belgium, France and Germany to work in the country’s coal and steel industries.
If the referendum had gone ahead, Luxembourg would have been the first country in the European Union to provide its foreign nationals full voting rights.
Currently European Union states only allow other EU nationals the right to vote in local polls.