Fürstentum in S-Mitteleuropa zw. Schweiz und Österreich, 160 km?, 29 000 Einw., Hauptstadt Vaduz, Amtssprache Deutsch. Das gebirgige L. lebt von bescheidener Landwirtschaft, blühendem Fremdenverkehr und v.a. von seinen Steuergesetzen. Sie haben es zum Sitz vieler (Schein-)Firmen gemacht, dem Land eine unverhältnismäßige wirtschaftl. Bedeutung geben. - Aus dem Zusammenschluß der reichsunmittelbaren Herrschaften Vaduz und Schellenberg entstand 1719 das Fürstentum L. 1806 erhielt es die volle Souveränität und war 1815/1866 Mitglied des Dt. Bundes. 1852 bis 1919 bestand eine Zollunion mit Österreich, dem 1923 ein Zollvertrag mit der Schweiz folgte. Seit 1924 nimmt die Schweiz auch die auswärtigen Angelegenheiten für L. wahr.
A small principality (constitutional monarchy) in central Europe located in the Alps between Austria and Switzerland.
Landlocked country in W central Europe, bounded E by Austria and W by Switzerland.
The 1921 constitution established a hereditary principality with a single-chamber parliament, the Landtag. The prince is formal and constitutional head of state. The Landtag has 25 members, 15 from the Upper Country and 10 from the Lower Country, elected for a four-year term through a system of proportional representation. The Landtag elects five people to form the government for its duration.
Liechtenstein's history as a sovereign state began 1342; its boundaries have been unchanged since 1434, and it has been known by its present name since 1719. Prince Franz Joseph II came to power 1938, and although he retained the title, he passed the duties of prince to his heir, Hans Adam, 1984. Franz Joseph II died Oct 1989 and Hans Adam II immediately began to press strongly for the country to consider applying for full membership in the United Nations (UN). Despite the growing indications of change, Liechtenstein's political system remained innately conservative. Women did not achieve the right to vote in national elections until 1984 and were debarred from voting in three of the principality's 11 communes until 1986.
Because of its small population (fewer than 30,000), Liechtenstein associated itself with larger nations in international matters. For example, in 1923 it formed a customs union with Switzerland, which also represented it abroad 1919–90. Before this Austria undertook its diplomatic representation. Liechtenstein was admitted to the UN Sept 1990. In 1991, it became the seventh member of the European Free Trade Association. Previously it had held associate status through its customs union with Switzerland, but had had no vote.
In 1993 Mario Frick (28) was elected prime minister by parliament, becoming the youngest head of government in Europe.