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Veteran Luxembourg PM steps down over spy scandal

Veteran Luxembourg PM steps down over spy scandal

Luxembourg: Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, Europe's longest-serving leader, today 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.

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