Questioning oneself

By Pascal SteinwachsLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Francine Closener was elected co-president of the LSAP in early March with around 92 per cent of the vote. However, the former state secretary has little time to settle into her new role, with the 2023 super-election year almost upon us.

Francine Closener was supposed to have been the only candidate for the party presidency two years ago, but withdrew her candidacy for family reasons, leaving the then General Secretary Yves Cruchten of the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP) to take over the presidency. Meanwhile, the way for a dual leadership was only cleared last autumn.

When the blue-red-green coalition was first formed, the 52-year-old was Secretary of State for the Economy, Defence and Internal Security. Before that, she worked as a journalist for RTL, including as editor-in-chief for radio. We met the Co-President and LSAP MP on Friday last week at the premises of the LSAP parliamentary group.

Lëtzebuerger Journal: After Lydie Schmit, who held the party chair for five years in the 1970s, you are only the second woman to head the party in the long history of the LSAP. Does the LSAP have a problem with women, or how can that be explained?

Francine Closener: The LSAP certainly does not have a women problem. If there is a party that has been working for equality for a very long time, it is the LSAP. The fact that we didn't have a woman at the top for years is of course a fact. In the meantime, however, equality has become a quite normal development, which can be seen not least in the introduction of dual leaderships, i.e. posts occupied equally by a woman and a man at almost all levels. The most important thing is to have a good working relationship, that the chemistry is right.

At the last Congress in March, your General Secretary, Tom Jungen, who is otherwise not heard from much, expressed the wish that the LSAP should become more female and younger. However, the political speech at the congress as president was given by your male co-chairman, while you only spoke briefly at the end of the event.

This can be explained by the fact that Dan Biancalana had already taken over the party presidency from Yves Cruchten as interim president since mid-January, and thus also gave the official congress speech. On the other hand, I was a candidate, so I had not yet been elected. The election result of over 90 per cent pleased me all the more.

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