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State structure

The Principality of Liechtenstein is a constitutional hereditary monarchy on a democratic and parliamentary basis. The succession of the head of state is therefore not decided by election, but is regulated by the House Act of the Principality of Liechtenstein. Hereditary succession takes place exclusively in the male line. State power is exercised jointly by the sovereign and the parliament. In addition, the people have direct influence through the right of initiative and referendum.

The sovereign (Fürst or Landesfürst) is the inviolable head of the state, who of course must abide by the constitution and other laws. Every law must be sanctioned by the sovereign and must have the contraseign of the prime minister. This happens because the latter has the political and legal responsibility. By means of "Notstandsrecht" the sovereign can issue decrees without the cooperation but with the approval of the government. The prince's power is very far-reaching because he can convene, adjourn and even dissolve parliament.

The people of Liechtenstein have the "right of initiative" and the "right of referendum". The former right means that they can submit legislative proposals; the latter right means that they can call referendums on legislation, financial decisions and state treaties. For each type of referendum, a minimum number of signatures of citizens entitled to vote is required.

The right to vote and stand for election (compulsory attendance!) is reserved for every Liechtenstein citizen aged 18 and over. Women have had the right to vote only since 1986. There are national and municipal elections according to the principle of proportional representation.

The 25-member parliament or "Landtag" has existed since 1989. Liechtenstein is divided into two electoral districts and of the 25 members, 15 come from the Oberland and 10 from the Unterland.

The members of the Landtag are elected for a period of four years and there is an 8% electoral threshold for political parties.

The Liechtenstein government is, of course, fully accountable to the Landtag and consists of a prime minister and four ministers. The government sits on the couch for a maximum of four years and is appointed by the sovereign with the consent of and on the recommendation of parliament. For the current political situation, see the history section.


All education is supervised and paid for by the government. From the age of about five, children are allowed to attend Kindergarten. Statutory education comprises nine years and lasts from the age of seven until the age of fifteen.

Students first attend the Primarschule for five years and then one of the following secondary schools: Oberschule (4 years), Realschule (4 years) or Liechtensteinisches Gymasium (8 years).

As higher education in particular cannot be sufficiently offered in Liechtenstein, the Liechtenstein government subsidises many foreign educational institutions. In exchange, a number of Liechtenstein students can be guaranteed a place. At present, there are three institutions of scientific education in Liechtenstein: the Fachhochschule Liechtenstein and the Universität für Humanwissenschaften and, in Triesenberg, the Internationale Akademie für Philosophie. However, most students from Liechtenstein study abroad, especially in Switzerland.


Economische Voorlichtingsdienst

Encarta Encyclopedie

Winter, R. de / Basisinformatie Liechtenstein
Liechtensteinse Vriendenkring

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated March 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info