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Luxembourgers go to polls to elect new government

Raf Casert, Associated Press

Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker addresses the media, after he casts his vote, at a polling station in Capellen, Luxembourg, Sunday Oct. 20, 2013. Polls opened in Luxembourg for legislative elections on Sunday, with Prime Minister Juncker hoping to win another term in office after an intelligence scandal brought down his government earlier this year. Juncker is the European Union's longest-serving premier after 18 years in office. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

LUXEMBOURG (AP) -- Luxembourg was voting for a new government on Sunday that could keep Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker in power, even though he called the special election during a spying scandal.

Juncker is already the longest serving government leader in the 28-nation European Union. If his CSV party remains the biggest in the nation, he could form a governing coalition and extend a leadership that began in 1995.

The spying scandal centered on allegations of eavesdropping and wiretapping on politicians and the keeping of files on ordinary citizens and leading figures dating back to the Cold War. There also were allegations that state money was used to pay for cars and apartments being used by the small country's security service.

Juncker was not implicated, but his coalition partner, the Socialists, told him to take political responsibility and he called the early election.

Depending on the outcome, Juncker could again form a coalition government.

Martine Huberty of the University of Sussex wrote that "trust in politicians has decreased but not nearly as much as could be expected."

During the 2009 election, Juncker's CSV won 26 of the 60 seats in parliament, more than any other party. If the CSV continues to dominate, he could switch coalition parties since the Socialists, the No. 2 party with 13 seats, were instrumental in forcing the early election.

"As a party we don't have a preference as far as the coalition partners are concerned. We do not have exclusive views on that," Juncker said.

The Socialists also want to keep their options open and could possibly form a coalition with a center-right DP party and the Greens. "It is extremely open today, and we hope there will be a change and that we can try to modernize this country," said Socialist leader Etienne Schneider.

Luxembourg, a Grand Duchy of 515,000 people, borders France and Germany, and has become a major financial center in the European Union. Juncker was head of the eurogroup of nations that share the EU's common currency between 2005 and early this year.