© Diana Hoffmann
On Friday afternoon, Pim Knaff and Daliah Scholl, the lead candidates of the Esch-sur-Alzette section of the Democratic Party (DP), unveiled their election programme for the city.
"It will be a landmark election," declared Pim Knaff. He proposed that one must decide whether to persist with the current political constellation or revert to the previous coalition's long-standing approach.
Here is all you need to know about the 2023 municipal elections
However, Knaff emphasised that no party should be dismissed from a potential coalition, arguing that doing so would equate to excluding voters from the outset.
The DP's approach is deeply rooted in "pragmatism," characterised by a commitment to being "free from ideological constraints." Knaff explained that the DP either "sets ideology aside or leaves it to other parties." After acknowledging the achievements of the previous legislative period, the discussion turned to future objectives.
The DP plans to revitalise Esch-sur-Alzette's business centre by continuing to prioritise pop-up and concept stores. Vacant premises ought to be leased out to optimise usage. Despite a number of empty premises, Knaff stressed that it's "wrong and impertinent to claim that all the shops in Esch are slowly but surely closing down."
The causes for vacancies are manifold, encompassing factors like renovation, non-compliance with ITM or CGDIS regulations, and proprietors charging exorbitant rents. In response, steps such as imposing a tax on vacant properties have been initiated, Knaff noted.
Addressing the unsatisfactory housing situation in Esch, the DP proposes establishing an Esch housing association. The party believes that multiple stakeholders are inhibiting progress and aims to incorporate the housing service into this new entity.
The election programme features a section titled "A clean and safe Esch." The DP "does not have ideological reservations" about hiring security firms, which are already employed to protect assets and buildings. Furthermore, the party backs the concept of a municipal police force, although the ultimate decision rests at the national level. The DP also advocates for the placement of surveillance cameras in various locations. Regarding pollution and noise, the DP-Esch deems the recently expanded powers of municipal agents adequate for managing these issues.
In terms of mobility, the DP aspires to continue promoting bicycles as a primary mode of transport. Efforts should be concentrated on improving cycling infrastructure and ensuring cyclists' safety. The party views the expansion of Park & Ride facilities on the city's outskirts as crucial.
The lead candidates also underscored that "Esch 2022" was not a failure. Co-lead candidate Daliah Scholl highlighted the need to uphold the rich cultural offerings provided by numerous institutions. Significantly, the renovation of the Kulturfabrik remains a top priority. Moreover, the DP plans to establish a children's art academy in Esch.