Once upon a time ...there was the CSV. The venerable party is now over 100 years old, and its age is showing. We talked to current party leader Claude Wiseler and former party president Erna Hennicot-Schoepges about what they remember fondly - or not so fondly.
It was not so long ago that the office of Minister of State and the CSV were something like Siamese twins: inseparable; just as there was once a generation that knew no other heads of government than Jean-Claude Juncker or Pierre Werner. However, those days are over – some may regret it, others will be relieved. And they are unlikely to return, given the increasing fragmentation of the party landscape.
The perpetual party
We recently spoke with former president Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, CSV party leader from 1995 to 2003, and also with Claude Wiseler, party leader since April of this year, who is soon to lead the Christian Social forces together with the designated co-president Elisabeth Margue. We spoke with the two CSV grandees, whom we met for separate interviews, which were not about day-to-day political issues, nor about the future of the CSV (which was, of course, a topic nonetheless), but about what were formative moments in the history of the CSV, once considered the eternal governing party.
In one of our first interviews for the new digital Journal, which we conducted almost exactly one year ago with the then party president Frank Engel (LINK), he had still hoped that the CSV would become relevant again. If one looks at the latest poll results (in which the CSV would lose six seats compared to the last elections, ) this can currently only be imagined with a great deal of fantasy. Since Jean-Claude Juncker's withdrawal from the political stage in Luxembourg, the largest opposition party has been more preoccupied with trench warfare and more with itself than with concrete policies.
In the process, the CSV, which has its historical origins in the former Party of the Right, itself founded on 16 January 1914, presented itself as a new party. In its long history, the CSV has had no fewer than eight prime ministers: Léon Kaufman (1917–1918), Emile Reuter (1918–1925), Joseph Bech (1926–1937 and 1953–1958), Pierre Dupong (1937–1953), Pierre Frieden (1958–1959), Pierre Werner (1959–1974 and 1979–1984), Jacques Santer (1984–1995) and Jean-Claude Juncker (1995–2013).
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