Euthanasia Controversy: Grand Duke of Luxembourg Will Lose His Veto
Luxembourg's parliament looks ready to strip the Grand Duke of his last lawmaking power as a controversy over euthanasia comes to a head. One of Europe's last royals with political sway may lose his formal veto by taking a stand against a law legalizing euthanasia.
The Grand Duke of Luxembourg, who has said he would interfere with a decision by parliament, will likely be stripped of his veto in a historic decision after a heated showdown over a bill to legalize euthanasia.
Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg will refuse to sign a euthanasia law for "reasons of conscience."
"That means he will only technically enact laws," Juncker said, according to Reuters.
The euthanasia bill passed a first vote by parliament in February. It looks set to pass a second and final vote next week, but the Catholic Grand Duke announced on Tuesday -- in a closed-door meeting with leaders of Juncker's ruling Christian Socialists -- that he would refuse to enact the law.
His position tipped the tiny nation into the worst constitutional crisis in its history. The Luxembourg royal house has tried to block a decision by parliament only once before, when the Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide refused to sign an education bill in 1912.
"I understand the Grand Duke's problems of conscience," said Juncker, "but I believe that if the parliament votes in a law, it must be brought into force."
It follows similar laws in the Netherlands and Belgium, where King Baudouin -- Henri's uncle -- abdicated for a day in 1990 to avoid signing a Belgian abortion law. The current Belgian king, Albert II, has signed Belgium's recent euthanasia and homosexual-marriage laws over his private Catholic beliefs.
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy, and the Grand Duke is its head of state. He has indicated that he won't stand in the way of any change to the constitution.
msm -- with wire reports
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