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The 2003 Constitutional Reform

Liechtenstein’s constitution of 1921 had remained in place largely unchanged over many decades throughout the political turmoil and changes sweeping Europe and the world in the twentieth century. Following an extensive debate in the Principality over role of the Monarchy, a reform process lead to several changes to the constitution proposed by the Princely House in a 2003 referendum. The constitutional reform was favored and accepted by 64.3 percent of the voting public, with a voter turnout of 87.7 percent.

A Meaningful Monarchy on a Fully Democratic Basis

The constitutional reform of 2003 reflects the vision of the Princely House for the presence of a meaningful monarchy on a fully democratic basis. This synthesis of a monarchy embedded in the Principality’s social and political fabric on the basis of, and conditional upon, full democratic legitimization and support indeed expresses the personal and political philosophy and conviction of Prince Hans-Adam II, as articulated in great detail in his book "The State in the Third Millennium", first published in 2009 and since translated and published in many languages. This very vision, aimed at harmoniously strengthening the powers of democracy and the monarchy, found its meaningful expression in the constitutional reform of 2003, including the principle of self-determination of municipalities, which now have the right to secede from the Principality by a vote of a majority of the citizens residing in this municipality (Art. 4 of the Constitution).

The Right to Vote for the Abolition of the Monarchy

Additional changes brought about by the 2003 constitutional reform include the protective limitations of emergency powers in time and scope (Art. 10 of the Constitution), the balanced appointment process for officials and judges (Art. 11 and Art. 96 of the Constitution), an improved process for votes of no-confidence in the Government (Art. 80 of the Constitution) and for the first time a vote of no-confidence in the Prince (Art. 13ter of the Constitution). The provision, however, that most powerfully expresses the commitment to the democratic legitimization of the monarchy is Art. 113 of the Constitution which provides the citizens of the Principality with the right to vote by referendum for the abolition of the monarchy.

For a more detailed overview of the main changes of the 2003 constitutional reform.