Politics of Liechtenstein
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Politics of Liechtenstein
POLITICS OF LIECHTENSTEIN
• Liechtenstein, officially the Principality of Liechtenstein (Fürstentum Liechtenstein) is a principality ruled under a constitutional monarchy.
• It exercises a mixed form of constitution where the monarch and a democratically elected parliament share political power.
• There is a two-party system (even though two other minor parties also exist) and a form of representative democracy where the PM and head of
government is accountable to parliament.
• Conversely, the Prince of Liechtenstein serves as head of state and exercises extensive political powers.
• The Cabinet of Liechtenstein (government) exercises executive power, whereas legislative power is vested in both the government and the Landtag
• The conservative Progressive Citizens’ Party and the liberal-conservative Patriotic Union dominate the party system.
• The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
• Prince Hans-Adam II announced in his National Day Address of 15 August 2002 that a settlement in the dispute on constitutional reform was
reached following months of intensive negotiations.
• PM Otmar Hasler confirmed to Parliament on 13 September that his government was drafting a bill for Parliament based on the agreement that the
Prince and the Citizens’ Forum reached; this bill, which aimed to increase the monarch’s executive powers, went before Parliament for a first hearing
• Upon being approved by Parliament, the bill was then sent to voters in a referendum; 64% voted in favor of it on 16 March 2003.
Political Map of Liechtenstein
PHYSICAL MAP OF LIECHTENSTEIN
GOVERNMENT OF LIECHTENSTEIN
Government of Liechtenstein
• Government Unitary parliamentary constitutional
• Monarch Hans-Adam II
• Regent Alois
• Prime Minister Adrian Hasler
• Legislature Landtag
LIECHTENSTEIN’S LANDTAG (INTERIOR)
• Main office holders
• Prince Hans-Adam II (non-partisan, since 13 November 1989)
• Prince-regent Alois (non-partisan, since 15 August 2004)
• Prime Minister Adrian Hasler (Progressive Citizens’ Party, since 27 March 2013)
EXECUTIVE BRANCH – CONT.
• The monarch is heritable.
• The head of government, after legislative elections, is nominated by the prince and recommended and voted on by the parliament; accordingly, the government is normally made up of
the members of the ruling party.
• However, it is likewise accustomed that the monarch appoints the leader of the biggest minority party in the Diet as the deputy head of government.
• In accordance with Liechtenstein’s constitution, the government is a collegiate body that comprises the head of government and four government councilors.
• Modifications to the constitution or new laws have to be approved by Parliament, signed by both the Prince and head of government, and issued in the Principality’s Law Gazette.
• The current head of state is Prince Hans-Adam II, whose constitutional powers include the power to reject any legislation (to be used at his will) and dissolving parliament, which may
be subject to a referendum.
• He represents the country in relation to foreign countries; he signs international treaties (of which some only become effective when Parliament has approved them) either in person
or assigns this power to a plenipotentiary.
• On the basis of the names presented by Parliament, the Prince appoints the government, district, and high court judges, the Supreme Court judges, and the presidents and their
representatives of the Constitutional Court and the Administrative Court of Appeal.
• The Prince’s other powers include the right to lessen and commute penalties that have been inflicted with legal force and the elimination, i.e., the discharge of investigations that have
been ordered; all rulings are given in the Prince’s name.
EXECUTIVE BRANCH – CONT.
• The Government of Liechtenstein is based on the belief of collegiality, where colleagues cooperate with one another.
• The government is made up of the head of government and four Councilors.
• Parliament recommends the members of the government, who are then appointed by the Prince.
• Only men or women born in Liechtenstein, and who are qualified to be elected to Parliament, may be elected to serve on the government committee.
• The highlands or the lowlands, the country’s two electoral regions, are permitted to no more than two members of the government; their separate delegates must be from the same
• The Prince’s participation in legislation involves a right to take initiatives as government bills
and in the right to reject parliamentary proposals.
• The Prince has the authority to pass princely verdicts; emergency princely verdicts are likely
when the security and prosperity of the country is at risk.
• A countersignature from the head of government is nonetheless required.
• The Prince also exercises the right to assemble and suspend parliament, and for serious reasons,
to suspend it for three months or to dissolve it.
• The Landtag of Liechtenstein is made up of 25 members who are elected to a four-year term by
way of proportional representation in two multi-seat electorates.
• Before 1989, fifteen members represented the population of the two electorates (six for the
lowland area and nine for the highland area); since 1989, the lowland electorate has been
permitted to have ten members and the highland area is permitted to have fifteen.
Government and Parliament Building,
LEGISLATIVE BRANCH – CONT.
• The primary task of the Landtag is to debate and assume resolutions on constitutional proposals and draft government bills; it has the additional responsibilities of giving its approval
to important international treaties, electing members of the government, judges, and board members of the Principality’s institutes, setting the yearly budget and approving taxes and
other public responsibilities, and overseeing the administration of the state.
• The Landtag observes its rights and responsibilities in the sequence of sessions of the entire Landtag and through the parliamentary committees that it elects.
• All members of the Landtag exercise, in addition to their regular occupations or professions, their orders.
• Both the President of the Landtag and his deputy are elected at the present year’s opening assembly.
• The president summons the individual meetings during the session, supervises them, and represents the Landtag externally.
• During the parliamentary vacation (usually January until February/March), a “state committee” (composed of the President of Parliament and four other members) takes over
parliamentary responsibilities; such a commission also has to be elected in the case of any postponement or suspension of Parliament.
• The responsibilities and working procedures of Parliament are established in the constitution and in Parliament’s standing orders.
• The people of Liechtenstein, furthermore, have very strong direct democratic rights; at least 1,000 citizens can propose a referendum on any law; referendums may suspend
parliament or amend the constitution, but at least 1,500 citizens must vote yes, so referendums to postpone parliament or amend the constitution fail if there is low voter turnout, even
if turnout meets the needed percentage of total voters.
POLITICAL PARTIES AND ELECTIONS
• In practice, the political parties are politically crucial and are the moving forces with respect to the structure of the government.
• During the 2001-2005 legislative session of office, one Councillor and three deputies were women.
• Liechtenstein had a coalition government from 1938-1997.
• There were, until recently, only two parties in Parliament: the Patriotic Union and the Progressive Citizens’ Party.
• In April 1997, when the Patriotic Union gained an absolute majority of seats, Liechtenstein’s unique form of coalition government came to an end; during the 1997-2001 parliamentary
session, when its members occupied the positions on the government commission, it assumed individual accountability for the government.
• Between 2001-2009, the Progressive Citizens’ Party formed the government; it gained an absolute majority in the 2001 elections and the majority of seats in the 2005 elections.
• In the February 2009 elections, the Patriotic Union once again achieved an absolute majority of seats.
• Minority parties, as opposition parties, have the role of being a check on the government in Parliament and on parliamentary committees.
• Progressive Citizens’ Party (Fortschrittliche Bürgerpartei in Liechtenstein, FBP)
• Patriotic Union (Vaterländische Union, VU)
• The Independents (Die Unabhängigen, DU)
• Free List (Freie Liste, FL)
• Christian Social Party of Liechtenstein (Christlich-Soziale Partei Liechtensteins,
• Christian-Social People’s Party (Christlich-Soziale Volkspartei, VP)
• German National Movement in Liechtenstein (Volksdeutsche Bewegung in
• Liechtenstein Homeland (Liechtensteiner Heimatdienst, LHD)
• Non-Party List (Überparteiliche Liste Liechtenstein, ULL)
• Workers’ and Peasants’ Party (Partei der Unselbständig Erwerbenden und
• The Judiciary of Liechtenstein consists of the Supreme Court (Oberster Gerichtshof), the Princely Superior Court (Fürstliches Obergericht), and the
Princely Court (Fürstliches Landgericht).
• Born 14 February 1945 in Zurich, Switzerland.
• Reigning Prince (Fürst) of Liechtenstein since 13 November 1989.
• Son of Franz Joseph II, Prince of Liechtenstein (1906-1989) and his wife Countess
Georgina von Wilczek (1921-1989).
• Also carries the titles Duke of Troppau, Jägerndorf, and Count Rietberg.
• He descends in the direct male line from only three of the fourteen earlier Princes
of Liechtenstein, and of another (from two of the aforementioned three) in the
• Born 11 June 1968 in Zurich, Switzerland.
• Oldest son of Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein, and Countess Marie Aglaë Kinsky
of Wchinitz and Tettau.
• Regent of Liechtenstein (Stellvertreter des Fürsten) since 15 August 2004.
• Married to Duchess Sophie of Bavaria.
• Attended the Liechtenstein Grammer School in Vaduz-Ebenholz and the Royal Military
Academy, Sandhurst in the United Kingdom.
• Served in the Coldstream Guards in Hong Kong and London for a six-month period
before he attended the University of Salzburg, earning a Master‘s degree in
Jurisprudence in 1993.
• Born 11 February 1964 in Vaduz.
• PM of Liechtenstein since 27 March 2013; also serves as Minister for General Government Affairs and Finance.
• Accomplished economist and was head of the Liechtenstein National Police Force.
• Married to Gudrun Hasler, with whom he has two sons, Pascal and Luis.
• Obtained his Matura, the common requirement for university entrance, in 1984 at the Liechtenstein secondary school in Vaduz.
• Subsequently started studying business administration with an area of proficiency in finance and accounting at the University of St. Gallen,
graduating in 1991; served as head of controlling in the business division Thin Films of the Balzers AG.
• Also served as head of Group Finance and deputy-director of the Verwaltungs- und Privat-Bank in Vaduz.
• Was elected as an MP for the Progressive Citizens’ Party (FBP) in 2001, but resigned in March 2004 to become the new chief of the National
Police of Liechtenstein, and discharged the interim police chief Martin Meyer, whose place was taken by Marco Ospelt, on 1 April 2004.
• Was chosen as the FBP candidate for PM in 2012 for the 2013 general elections; that party would win the 2013 parliamentary election.
PROGRESSIVE CITIZENS’ PARTY
Progressive Citizens’ Party
• National conservative political party in Liechtenstein.
• Founded 1918 with the now-defunct Christian-Social People’s Party; now Liechtenstein’s oldest continuously existing party.
• Created by middle-class citizens and members of the farming community in response to the founding of the Christian-Social
People’s Party (VP).
• Won most of the elected seats in the 1918 elections, but the VP formed a government; it won elections in February 1922,
January 1926, and April 1926, but the FBP won the 1928 elections, and became the party of government until 1938, with
Josef Hoop serving as PM until 1945.
• In 1938, the FBP permitted the Patriotic Union to join it in a coalition government; until the 1997 elections, after which the
Patriotic Union formed a government, the two parties governed in coalition.
• The FBP won the 2001 general election; its leader Otmar Hasler became PM.
• After the 2005 general election, the coalition was renewed, and Hasler remained PM.
• The Patriotic Union’s Klaus Tschütscher occupied the position from 2009-2013; FBP leader Hasler subsequently became
• Christian democratic political party in Liechtenstein.
• Led by Jakob Büchel and has eight members in the Landtag.
• Dominates the politics of Liechtenstein along with the Progressive Citizens’ Party (FBP), also a right of centre party.
• Is the more liberal of the two parties and advocates constitutional monarchy and greater democracy.
• Created as a result of the merger of the Christian-Social People’s Party (VP) with the minor party Liechtenstein Homeland
(LHD) in 1936.
• While the VP was the bigger party, it was members of the LHD who, after the merger, assumed important positions in the
leadership of the new party.
• The VU became the Landtag’s biggest party for the first time as a result of the 1970 elections after decades of being the
second party to the FBP.
• Despite its loss in the 1974 elections to the FBP, the VU won the 1978 elections and kept its Landtag majority until February
1993, even though it would reclaim its majority in the early elections of October 1993, holding it for the next eight years.
• Lost the 2013 general election to the FBP after it defeated the FBP in the general election held four years earlier.
• Liechtenstein is divided into eleven communes (Gemeinden): Balzers, Eschen, Gamprin,
Mauren, Planken, Ruggell, Schaan, Schellenberg, Triesen, Triesenberg, and Vaduz.
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION PARTICIPATION
• CE, EBRD, ECE, EFTA, IAEA, ICC, ICRM, IFRCS, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UPU, WCL, WIPO, WTO
THE END (DAS ENDE)