© Didier Weber / RTL
The Left Party's co-lead candidate for the 2023 municipal elections slammed the capital's municipal executive for their "foolish and illegal" security policies, emphasising the need to "fight poverty and not the poor."
David Wagner, co-lead candidate of the Left Party (déi Lénk) in Luxembourg's capital, voiced strong criticism against the municipal executive board (Schäfferot) during an interview with RTL Radio on Friday morning. Wagner accused the board of having a "heart of ice" and suggested they may lately also suffer from "brain freeze." Following a two-year political break, Wagner expressed significant discontent with the city's politics, particularly in relation to security policy and the attempted ban on begging.
The municipality of Luxembourg City had proposed a ban on begging in various areas of the city during the day. Currently, the municipal executive board, consisting of a coalition between the Democratic Party (DP) and the Christian Social People's Party (CSV), is pursuing legal action against the Ministry of Home Affairs' veto on the ban. Wagner criticised the DP and the CSV, accusing them of engaging in "demagogy." The Left Party politician argued that targeting the most vulnerable members of society solely to gain votes crossed ethical boundaries.
Wagner further contended that the begging ban is particularly reprehensible from a moral standpoint, considering that the influential figures within the local council are "privileged" and "rich" individuals, and in some cases, "political and economic heirs." In response to the argument that one cannot tell people who feel insecure how to feel, Wagner declared that as a citizen of Luxembourg City, he has been approached by beggars "thousands of times" without ever being attacked. He argued that the DP and the CSV conflate beggars and "those who attack." Wagner also questioned the notion that "old grannies" would consistently feel threatened by beggars, emphasising the need to "fight poverty and not the poor." He characterised the begging ban and the deployment of private patrols as "foolish and illegal."
Housing and mobility
For the Left Party, transport is a safety issue. David Wagner welcomed the fact that the majority of parties are now in favour of expanding public transport. One of the eight points in the Left Party's programme in this regard is a general speed limit of 30 km/h, "only where it makes sense, of course."
When it comes to housing, Wagner "no longer believes anything the current local leadership has to say." The Left Party politician criticised that "only the strict minimum" is being built while expensive flats remain unsold. He called for robust intervention by the public sector, citing the example of Vienna, where the state owns at least one-third of residential properties.
'Putting everything back in order'
Wagner emphasised that the Left Party's objective was not to "throw everything out of the window" in Luxembourg City but rather to "put everything back in order." According to Wagner, the Left Party "deserves" to double its number of seats from two to four in the municipal elections in June. After the Green Party (déi Gréng) - which he praised for its work - the Left Party has been "the most active" in recent years in his eyes. The Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP), meanwhile, "could have done more."
Wagner also said that there was little internal discussion about the rotation principle within the Left Party. In September 2020, he vacated his seat on the municipal council to make way for Anna Correia Da Veiga, and two years ago, he passed his mandate as MP to Nathalie Oberweis. Wagner appreciated the advantages of his two-year break, allowing him to "lead a normal life" and return to university. While reducing public appearances intentionally, he remained actively involved in internal party affairs.