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Luxembourg votes with liberal PM’s job in the balance

Luxembourg voters went to the polls on Sunday in a legislative election that will decide the fate of liberal Prime Minister Xavier Bettel’s five-year-old government.

The small Grand Duchy has an electorate of just 256,000 choosing 60 deputies, but eight parties are in the race and the next government will likely result from coalition talks.

Voting began at 8:00am (0600 GMT) and was due to continue until 2:00pm.

Only three leaders have a real hope of forming a government, Bettel of the liberal DP, Claude Wiseler of the centre-right CSV and Etienne Schneider of the socialist LSAP.

The CSV has long had the largest representation. It has 23 members in the outgoing parliament but would need a coalition partner to get a 31 seat majority.

In 2013, the socialists and greens chose to partner with the liberals despite the right’s lead, putting Bettel in power and ousting the CSV’s veteran premier Jean-Claude Juncker.

All recent polling shows the CSV still enjoying a comfortable lead, but with probably not enough support to rule alone.

On the same day, Luxembourg’s bigger neighbour Belgium holds municipal elections seen as a test of strength for another liberal, Prime Minister Charles Michel.