Browse the listing below to find government information for Liechtenstein, including flags, leaders,
and constitution information. Factrover also has complete information on Liechtenstein at its
Liechtenstein Country Page.
Type: Hereditary constitutional monarchy.
Independence: Imperial Principality of Liechtenstein established January 23, 1719; established independence from the Holy Roman Empire July 12, 1806.
Constitution: October 5, 1921.
Branches: Executive--chief of state, Prince Hans Adam II, since November 13, 1989, but already assumed executive powers since August 26, 1984; Heir Apparent Prince Alois, son of the monarch was born on June 11, 1968, and will assume executive powers in August 2004. Head of government, Otmar Hasler (since April 5, 2001). Cabinet (five cabinet members); elected by the Diet and approved by the Prince. Legislative--Unicameral Diet or Landtag (25 seats); members are elected by direct popular vote under proportional representation to serve 4-year terms. Judicial--District Court (low), Superior Court (medium), Supreme Court (high).
Administrative subdivisions: The country is subdivided into 11 districts. Political parties: Fatherland Union (VU), Progressive Citizens' Party (FBP), and the Free List (FL). Currency: Swiss franc.
National holiday: Assumption Day, August 15.
Government of Liechtenstein
According to the Constitution, the government is a collegiate body and consists of the head of government and four governmental councilors. The head of government and ministers are appointed by the Prince, following the proposals of the Parliament.
Amendment to the Constitution or new law have to be adopted by Parliament, signed by both the Prince and the head of government, and published in the Principality's Law Gazette. Prince Hans Adam II is the head of state. He in entitled to exercise his right to state leadership in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and of other laws.
He represents the state vis-à-vis foreign states. He signs international treaties either in person or delegates this function to a plenipotentiary. Some treaties under international law only become valid when they have been ratified by parliament. The Prince's involvement in legislation includes the right to take initiatives in the form of government bills and the right to veto parliamentary proposals. The Prince has the power to enact princely decrees. Emergency princely decrees are possible when the security and welfare of the country is at stake. A countersignature by the head of government is, nevertheless, required.
The Prince has the right to convene and adjourn Parliament and, for serious reasons, to adjourn it for 3 months or to dissolve it. On the basis of the names put forward by Parliament, the Prince nominates the government, district and high court judges, the judges of the Supreme Court, and the presidents and their deputies of the Constitutional Court and of the Administrative Court of Appeal.
The Prince's other authorities include exercising the right to mitigate and commute punishments that have been imposed with legal force, and the abolition--i.e., the dismissal--of investigations that have been initiated. All judgments are issued in the name of the Prince.
Citizens elect the Parliament directly under a system of proportional representation. Until 1989, 15 members represented the population of the two constituencies (6 for the lowland area and 9 for the highland area). Since 1989 the lowland constituency has been entitled to have 10 members and the highland area 15 members.
The Parliament's main task is to discuss and adopt resolutions on constitutional proposals and draft government bills. It has the additional duties of giving its assent to important international treaties; of electing members of the government, judges and board members of the Principality's institutions; setting the annual budget and approving taxes and other public charges; and supervising the administration of the state.
The Parliament observes its rights and duties in the course of sessions of the whole Parliament and through the parliamentary commissions that it elects. All members of Parliament exercise their mandates in addition to their normal professions or occupations. The president of Parliament and his deputy are both elected at the opening meeting for the current year. The president convenes the individual meetings during the session, leads them, and represents Parliament externally.
During the parliamentary recess--normally from January to February/March--a "state committee" assumes Parliament's duties, and such a committee also must be elected in the case of any adjournment or dissolution of Parliament. A "state committee" consists of the president of Parliament and four other members. The duties and working procedures of Parliament are laid down in the Constitution and in Parliament's standing orders.
The Government of Liechtenstein is based on the principle of collegiality; namely, of colleagues collaborating with each other. The government consists of the head of government and four Councilors. The members of the government are proposed by the Parliament and are appointed by the Prince. Only men or women born in Liechtenstein and who are eligible to be elected to Parliament may be elected to the government committee. The two electoral areas of the country, the highlands and the lowlands, are entitled to at least two members of the government, and their respective deputies must come from the same area.