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  • 1818


    The institution of Parliament in the shape of the Landtag was created by the absolutist Constitution of 1818. The two Estates - the clergy and the peasantry – obtained the right to be represented by “deputies“. Three priests represented the clergy in Parliament while the municipalities were represented by the 11 municipal heads and the treasurers of the municipal funds. This Landtag of the Estates – the Ständelandtag - was convened by the Reigning Prince to a meeting once a year. It possessed no rights of any kind, its sole function was assenting “with gratitude” to the annual demand for taxes.

  • 1862

    Constitution of 1862

    The history of Liechtenstein‘s parliamentarianism begins with the Constitution of 1862. Parliament became a genuinely representative body of the People and was largely constituted through free elections. The number of Members was reduced to 15. Three Members were appointed by the Reigning Prince and twelve were elected indirectly by the People. The men in each municipality, who were solely eligible to vote, elected two electors for every 100 inhabitants. These electors then elected the Members of Parliament at an electoral meeting. Parliament now had the right to participate in the most important, if not all, functions of the State: the right to participate in the legislative process, the right to approve important international treaties, the right to approve taxes (fiscal authority), the right to supervise the State administration and the right to participate in military recruitment. The Landtag had no influence on the forming of the Government or on the appointment of the principal judge.

  • 1877

    Election districts

    The two historical districts of the country were abolished during the absolute monarchy. Although the people stubbornly opposed their abolition, even the Constitution of 1862 did not reverse the creation of a unitary State. During the ‘coinage turmoil’ of 1877 in which the inhabitants of the Lower Country fought energetically against the introduction of the gold standard, the conflict flared up again. In 1878, the country was then divided into two election districts. Seven Members of Parliament were now elected from the Upper Country, five from the Lower Country election district. In addition, the Reigning Prince appointed two Members from the Upper Country and one Member from the Lower Country. In the new Constitution of 1921, the Reigning Prince waived the appointment of the three Princely Members. The total number of 15 Members and the 60:40 ratio between the Upper Country (9) and the Lower Country (6) remained the same.

  • 1878

    Blocking minority

    This ratio was also retained when the number of Members was increased to 25 in 1988 although this ratio 15:10) no longer corresponded exactly to the number of inhabitants in the two election districts. The Lower Country is given an advantage and protected as a minority. Since at least two-thirds of the Members (17) must be present for a resolution of the Landtag to be valid, the representatives of the Lower Country have been able since 1878 to block changes to the Constitution or, by walking out of the Landtag, to make it impossible for a resolution to come about at all.

  • 1918

    Electoral law changes

    Secret and direct franchise was introduced only in 1918. Since then, the Members of the Landtag have no longer been elected through electors but at the ballot box by persons entitled to vote. Up to 1939, elections were decided by a simple majority. Shortly before the Second World War and with the threat from outside in mind, a truce was agreed by the feuding parties, resulting in a change to the proportional electoral system. At the same time, a qualifying clause of 18%, aimed at keeping extreme forces out of the Landtag, was included in the electoral law. This qualifying clause was removed by the State Court in 1962 since it had no constitutional basis.

    A new qualifying clause of 8% was included in the Constitution in 1973. Initiatives for the removal or lowering of this qualifying clause have not so far been successful. Similarly, other attempts to change the electoral law (e.g., to introduce a majority clause covering both election districts) were rejected by the electorate.

  • 1918

    The parties

    The first political parties were formed in 1918. Up to 1993, only the Progressive Civic Party (FBP) and the Patriotic Union (VU) were represented in the Landtag. After the introduction of proportional representation (1939), elections usually led to very close majority relations, resulting for a long time in coalition governments (1938 to 1997). In 1993, with the Free List (FL), a third party overcame the 8% qualifying clause and was able to take its seat in the Landtag. After the elections of 1997, the coalition between the two “big” parties, which was usual hitherto, was no longer renewed.

  • 1921

    Constitution of 1921

    The Constitution of 1921 placed the State of Liechtenstein on a new foundation. For the first time, the monarchical and democratic principles were recognized as equals. Since then, many functions of the State can only be exercised if different bodies of the State work together. A fundamental innovation compared to the Constitution of 1862 was the notion that the State
    rests on a “democratic and parliamentary basis”. The People received far-reaching direct democratic rights (electoral, initiative and referendum rights). The Reigning Prince renounced the right to appoint three Members of the Landtag which became a totally representative body of the People. The rights of the Landtag were significantly increased. Since 1921, the Government has been formed through cooperation between the Reigning Prince and the Landtag whereby the Landtag has the right to recommend appointments. Another new feature is that since then judges have been elected by the Landtag, either in the sense of a proposal to the Reigning Prince or directly.

  • 1984

    Female suffrage

    The introduction of female suffrage was rejected twice in 1971 and 1973 in a national referendum and it was only at the third attempt in 1984 that it succeeded.

  • 1986

    Women members

    A woman was elected for the first time in 1986. In 1993, two women were elected but from 1997 to 2001 there was only one regular female representative in the Landtag. At the elections of 2001, three women won a seat in the Landtag. In the Landtag election of 13 March 2005, six women (corresponding to a proportion of 24%) entered Parliament and at the election of 8 February 2009 five women were returned.

  • 1988

    Number of members

    The Liechtenstein Landtag is a small Parliament on the international scale. After 1919, repeated efforts were made to raise the number of Members but these attempts failed in four national referendums. It was only in 1988 that the People voted for an increase to 25 members.

  • 2003

    Revision of the Constitution of 2003

    As part of the revision of the Constitution of 2003, various rights and powers of the Landtag were modified or re-formulated. Thus, for example, the selection of the judges was transferred to a Judiciary Election Committee chaired by the Reigning Prince or the Head of State. The Government is appointed by the Reigning Prince in agreement with the Landtag following the latter’s proposal. If the Government loses the confidence of the Reigning Prince or the Landtag, its authority to exercise its office lapses. For the period until the new Government takes office, the Reigning Prince appoints a transitional government for the interim administration of the country. Furthermore, when an emergency decree is issued, the Reigning Prince temporarily takes the place of the legislative body. This is an emergency right not linked to the Landtag.

Zeitleiste nach links verschieben (früher)
Absol­utism 1818
Constitution of 1862 1862
Election districts 1877
Blocking minority 1878
Electoral law changes 1918
The parties 1918
Constitution of 1921 1921
Female suffrage 1984
Women members 1986
Number of members 1988
Revision of the Constitution of 2003 2003
Zeitleiste nach rechts verschieben (später)