Today, a request for a referendum under Article 114 of the Constitution has been submitted to the Prime Minister, Minister of State, Xavier Bettel, by an initiative committee in the context of the revision of Chapters I, II, III, V, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI and XII of the Constitution.
As a reminder, the Luxembourg Constitution can only be amended in accordance with the revision procedure that it determines itself in Article 114. This article stipulates that a revision of the Constitution must be adopted by the Chamber of Deputies in two successive votes separated by an interval of at least three months, each of which must obtain at least two-thirds of the votes of the members of the Chamber.
Article 114 also states that the text of the constitutional revision adopted in the first reading (first vote) may, under certain conditions, be submitted to a referendum which then replaces the second vote of the parliament.
The conditions for holding a referendum in this case are set out in the amended law of 4 February 2005 on the national referendum (Articles 3 to 19):
Request from the initiative committee to the Prime Minister
- An initiative committee, consisting of at least five electors, must submit a request to the Prime Minister no later than the fourteenth day following the adoption of the text at first reading by the Chamber of Deputies. This request must include:
- the title and text of the constitutional revision;
- the full names, dates of birth and addresses of the members of the initiative committee;
- the handwritten signatures of the members to certify their membership to the initiative committee;
- the certificate that they are registered as voters on the electoral lists for the legislative elections;
- the chosen address of the initiative committee.
- The Prime Minister has three days to decide whether the request meets the requirements of the amended law of 4 February 2005.
Publication of a notice in the Official Journal of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
If the Prime Minister considers that the request meets the conditions set out in the amended law of 4 February 2005, a notice will be published within eight days in the Official Journal and in at least three daily newspapers. This communication includes the title and text of the constitutional revision, the contact details of the members of the initiative committee and the start and end dates of the signature collection period.
Information by the municipalities
Subsequently, municipalities must inform voters of the request to hold a referendum and indicate the venues where voters can, during the planned collection period, support the request by registering on the lists. Municipalities must also indicate the times and days on which registrations can be received. Opening hours should be set at a minimum of six hours per week and Saturdays must be included in the opening days.
Collection of signatures
The collection of signatures shall begin at the latest fifteen days after the date of publication of the Prime Minister's notice in the Official Journal.
In order to support the request for a referendum, the voter, with a valid identity document, must go in person to the municipality of residence and register there. A municipal official checks his identity and that he is registered on the electoral list.
Signing on behalf of a third party is prohibited.
Publication of results
At the end of the signature collection period, each municipality sends the results to the Prime Minister who verifies them and determines the total number of signatures. No later then three weeks after the end of the signature collection period, the results are communicated to the initiative committee and published in the Official Journal.
The result published in the Official Journal may be challenged by any voter within five days from the date of its publication before the Administrative Court.
25,000 signatures for a referendum
The request for a referendum has been successful if the total number of valid signatures, collected within two months of the first vote on the constitutional revision text in the Chamber of Deputies (Art. 114 of the Constitution), is at least 25,000.
In this case, the referendum must be held within six months. In the event of legislative or European elections within this period, this period is extended by six months.
The day of the referendum must be a Sunday or a public holiday. In no case may it be held during the three months preceding or following legislative or European elections.
Press release by the Ministry of State