Amid a spying scandal that has rocked his administration, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said he would resign, according to Agence France-Presse.
Juncker, 58, who has been in power as prime minister for 18 years — longer than any European leader or leader of a Western democracy — has served in government for 30 years. He also served as head of the eurozone finance ministers between 2005 and 2012.
Financial Times reports that Juncker “came under pressure to quit after a probe concluded that he failed to inform parliament of irregularities and supposed illegalities carried out by the country’s secret services between 2004 and 2009.”
These “irregularities,” as Deutsche Welle reports, include wiretapping politicians and accepting bribes. Juncker, as premier, is responsible for overseeing the secret service, or SREL. Most of the pressure for the prime minister to call a snap election came from the junior coalition party, the Social Worker’s Party (LSAP).
Originally, elections had been called for May 2014, but in light of Juncker’s planned resignation, he has called for a snap election in October. For those in the U.S. who are unfamiliar with snap elections, they are elections held before the time when an election must be legally or is conventionally held. Sometimes snap elections are held to capitalize on a wave of popular support, but in the case of this political crisis, they can also be used to decide pressing political issue that dominates the legislature’s agenda and its country’s politics.
Juncker’s government, led by his party, the Christian Socialist People’s Party (CSV) and in coalition with LSAP, currently holds 39 of 60 seats in parliament. Since World War II, the CSV has been in power for all but one government, according to Reuters.
Juncker will hand in his resignation to Grand Duke Henri on Thursday morning. It is unknown whether Juncker will participate in the elections in October.