Encounter with a small state
The Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein is Liechtenstein's highest executive body. As a collegial body comprising the Prime Minister and four Ministers, it is responsible to the Parliament (the highest legislative body) and the Prince Regnant (the head of state). The Government is elected for a period of four years by the Prince based on a recommendation by the Parliament. Its seat is in Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein.
All Liechtenstein citizens are eligible to be elected to Government provided they fulfil the criteria to become a Member of Parliament. Each of Liechtenstein's two main regions, the Oberland (south) and the Unterland (north), has the right to at least two members of Government. Alternate Ministers must come from the same region as their respective Ministers. The term of office is four years.
The current Government was formed on 27 March 2013 as a coalition between the Progressive Citizens' Party (FBP) and the Patriotic Union (VU). Adrian Hasler (FBP) is the Prime Minister. The other members of the Government are Deputy Prime Minister Thomas Zwiefelhofer (VU) and Ministers Marlies Amann-Marxer (VU), Mauro Pedrazzini (FBP) and Aurelia Frick (FBP).
Position of the Prime Minister
The Constitution gives the Prime Minister certain privileges and powers. For example, the Prime Minister is responsible for all affairs delegated by the Prince and for countersigning laws as well as decrees and edicts issued by the Prince or with his authority. Furthermore, the Prime Minister keeps the Prince Regnant informed about government affairs. Only the Prime Minister takes an oath of office before the Prince Regnant or the Regnant; the other members of the Government and the state officials are sworn in by the Prime Minister. All laws, decrees and sovereign resolutions enter into force or become valid only once they have been signed by the Prime Minister.
Between 1938 and 1997 Liechtenstein had a somewhat unusual system of government. Until 1993 there were just two political parties represented in Parliament: the Patriotic Union and the Progressive Citizens' Party. The party with the majority in Parliament formed the majority of the coalition government. The other party acted as the opposition in Parliament and at the same time as the junior coalition partner. This form of coalition government particular to Liechtenstein came to an end in April 1997. From 1997 to 2001 the Patriotic Union governed alone and provided all members of the Government.
Between 2001 and 2005 it was the Progressive Citizens' Party that governed alone, with the other parties forming an opposition to monitor the Government's work in Parliament and parliamentary commissions.
From 2005 until 2009 and from 2009 until 2013 the Progressive Citizens' Party and the Patriotic Union again governed together in a coalition.
Since 27 March 2013 Liechtenstein has been ruled by a further coalition government comprising three members of the Progressive Citizens' Party and two members of the Patriotic Union.