Historian Denis Scuto / © RTL (Archiv)
The last referendum that took place in Luxembourg was contentious one indeed. However, 100 years ago to the day, another referendum occurred which could have changed the political make-up of the Grand Duchy (or Republic, if the vote had gained traction).
The years following WWI were characterised by uncertainty. Over to the east of Luxembourg, the Weimar Republic struggled to keep a government for longer than two years at a time.
Luxembourg also experienced this uncertainty and a true political crisis. Representatives of the Left called to abolish the monarchy, particularly in light of Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde's alleged pro-German attitude.
The Grand Duchess experienced pressure from within the country, as a volunteer corps revolted and declared Luxembourg a republic on 9 January 1919, and from external figures. The French government also believed her position had been compromised.
As it turns out, Marie-Adélaïde would abdicate six days later in favour of her sister, Charlotte. The revolt of the volunteer corps was bolstered by a committee of public safety, although French troops quickly stifled the revolt. 48 hours later, the republic was no more.
Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde
As a compromise, the Chamber of Deputies proposed a double referendum on both the political form of Luxembourg (monarchy or republic) and its economic direction.
According to historian Denis Scuto, right-wing politicians managed to delay a direct vote and ensured that when the vote occurred, nine months later on 28 September 1919, a large majority supported remaining a monarch (80%).
The government's political manoeuvring, including encouraging the Grand-Duchess to abdicate in favour of her younger sister, succeeded in putting an end to a rather short-lived revolution.