U.S. Department of State Background Note

Liechtenstein

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Liechtenstein

HISTORY

According to the Constitution, the government is a collegial 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.

Amendments to the constitution and new laws 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 is entitled to exercise his right to state leadership in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and of other laws. On August 15, 2004 Prince Hans-Adam II entrusted Hereditary Prince Alois as his representative with the exercise of all sovereign rights pertaining to him, in accordance with the Liechtenstein Constitution.

He represents the state vis-à-vis foreign states. He signs international treaties either in person or delegates this function to a plenipotentiary. In accordance with international law, some treaties 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 required.

The Prince has the right to convene and adjourn parliament and, for serious reasons, to adjourn it for three months or to dissolve it.

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 on the basis of the names put forward by parliament.

The Prince's other authorities include mitigating and commuting 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 must also 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. 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.

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Otmar Hasler (Head of the Government)--Prime Minister, Government Executive, Finance, Construction and Public Works
Klaus Tschuetscher--Deputy Prime Minister, Economic Affairs, Justice, and Sports
Rita Kieber-Beck--Foreign Affairs, Cultural Affairs, Family and Equal Opportunity
Hugo Quaderer--Education, Social Affairs, Land Use Planning, Agriculture and Forestry
Martin Meyer--Home Affairs, Public Health, Transport and Telecommunications
Robert Walner--Attorney General
Claudia Fritsche--Liechtenstein's Ambassador to the U.S.
Christian Wenaweser--Permanent Representative to the UN.

Liechtenstein maintains an embassy in the United States at 888 17th Street, NW, Suite 1250, Washington, DC 20006. Telephone (202) 331-0590.

ECONOMY

Defense is the responsibility of Switzerland. In 1978, Liechtenstein became a member of the Council of Europe and then joined the UN in 1990, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 1991, and both the European Economic Area (EEA) and World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995.

U.S.-LIECHTENSTEIN RELATIONS

U.S. Ambassador-- Peter Coneway
Deputy Chief of Mission--Carol Urban

The U.S. Embassy in Switzerland is at Jubilaeumsstrasse 93, 3005 Bern, Switzerland, telephone: (41) (31) 357-7011.

TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION
The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program advises Americans traveling and residing abroad through Consular Information Sheets, Public Announcements, and Travel Warnings. Consular Information Sheets exist for all countries and include information on entry and exit requirements, currency regulations, health conditions, safety and security, crime, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. Public Announcements are issued to disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term conditions overseas that pose significant risks to the security of American travelers. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel to a certain country because the situation is dangerous or unstable.

For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://www.travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution, Public Announcements, and Travel Warnings can be found. Consular Affairs Publications, which contain information on obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad, are also available at http://www.travel.state.gov. For additional information on international travel, see http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Travel/International.shtml.

The Department of State encourages all U.S citizens traveling or residing abroad to register via the State Department's travel registration website or at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Registration will make your presence and whereabouts known in case it is necessary to contact you in an emergency and will enable you to receive up-to-date information on security conditions.

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada or the regular toll line 1-202-501-4444 for callers outside the U.S. and Canada.

The National Passport Information Center (NPIC) is the U.S. Department of State's single, centralized public contact center for U.S. passport information. Telephone: 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778). Customer service representatives and operators for TDD/TTY are available Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight, Eastern Time, excluding federal holidays.

Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 877-FYI-TRIP (877-394-8747) and a web site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/index.htm give the most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. A booklet entitled "Health Information for International Travel" (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280) is available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.

Further Electronic Information
Department of State Web Site. Available on the Internet at http://www.state.gov, the Department of State web site provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy information, including Background Notes and daily press briefings along with the directory of key officers of Foreign Service posts and more. The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides security information and regional news that impact U.S. companies working abroad through its website http://www.osac.gov

Export.gov provides a portal to all export-related assistance and market information offered by the federal government and provides trade leads, free export counseling, help with the export process, and more.

STAT-USA/Internet, a service of the U.S. Department of Commerce, provides authoritative economic, business, and international trade information from the Federal government. The site includes current and historical trade-related releases, international market research, trade opportunities, and country analysis and provides access to the National Trade Data Bank.

Revised: Oct. 2007

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