Veteran Luxembourg PM steps down over spy scandal
Luxembourg: Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, Europe`s longest-serving leader, on Thursday said he would step down over a scandal involving the secret services, who were alleged to have indulged in a spate of misconduct on his watch.
After his junior coalition partner, the Socialists, put down a motion calling for the dissolution of parliament and early elections, Juncker said he would hand in his resignation to the head of state tomorrow morning after a cabinet meeting.
"There was no other choice than to hand in the government`s resignation," said Juncker.
Though aged only 58, Juncker has been in office for 18 years and in government for 30. He is best known in Europe for a tumultuous eight-year stint as head of the eurozone finance ministers group, which ended in January.
In a rare political drama in tiny uneventful Luxembourg, the parliament examined a report alleging that the country`s SREL secret service, which the premier is supposed to oversee, had indulged in a series of misdemeanours from 2003 to 2009 that included illegal phone-taps, corruption, and even a dodgy car dealership.
"The intelligence service was not my top priority," Juncker told parliament earlier Wednesday. "Moreover I hope Luxembourg will never have a prime minister who sees SREL as (his or her) priority."
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