Luxembourg’s electoral system, known as “panachage,” is a combination of the proportional representation of lists with the possibility for the voter to pick individual candidates by giving them preferential votes. Consequently, the voter, and not the party, decides the composition of parliament and even of the government, since those with the best results usually become ministers.
This system encourages politicians to take personal initiatives, but as they generally address small lobbies, they do not conflict with the government’s agenda.
A “go-it-alone” action of a CSV member of parliament and former minister has, however, caused a lot of attention, because it challenged one of the basic tenants of consensus within the political system, namely not to appeal to nationalism and xenophobia. This MP submitted a proposal for a law to change the Luxembourg national flag, without any prior consultation with the party establishment. Even if the purpose was folkloristic, a petition in favor of this initiative obtained a number of signatures corresponding to 12% of the electorate.
This personal initiative annoyed the CSV because it does not correspond to the modern image the party wants to convey. On the other hand, it contributed to attracting those in the electorate who fear being “swamped” by foreigners and being unable to compete with them on the labor market.
Fernand Fehlen, A New National Flag For Luxembourg - Struggling Over Identity In A Small Multilingual Society, In: Mats Andrén, Thomas Lindkvist, Ingmar Söhrman, Katharina Vajta (eds) Cultural Identities and Cultural Borders, Göteborg 2009, pp. 67-84