Luxembourg parliament reduces grand duke's power to block laws
Luxembourg's parliament voted nearly unanimously Thursday for a constitutional change that would reduce the ability of its Grand Duke to block laws, dpa reported.
Under the change, the Grand Duke would only be able to proclaim new laws. Currently, all laws must receive the duke's final approval before implementation.
The move is a legislative reaction to a decision this month by Grand Duke Henri to withhold his signature from legislation that would legalize doctor-assisted euthanasia. Henri had said his conscience blocked him from signing off on the law.
Fifty-six of 57 legislators backed the constitutional change. It will not become final until after a second reading, which cannot occur less than 30 days after the initial vote.
"I'm of the opinion that the Grand Duke cannot set himself against the will of the parliament and withhold his signature from legislation brokered by the representatives of the people," said Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who proposed the constitutional change.
Finance Minister Luc Frieden said the government remains loyal to the grand duke and respects his opinion. He said the change would make the constitution align with constitutional practice.