Liechtenstein 2009

Liechtenstein, the country nobody can spell correctly, held elections today for its 25-seat Landtag.

There are two (multi-member) constituencies: the five northern muncipalities (Unterland) have 10 seats, and every voter has ten votes. The six southern municipalities, including Vaduz (Oberland) have 15 seats, and every voter has 15 votes.  The government calculation of results, just adds all the votes unweighted. While nearly 200k votes are added in the government calculations, the real number of voters is about 18k.

There are two major parties in Liechtenstein, both right-wing conservatives. The Fatherland Union (VU) and the Progressive Citizens’ Party (FBP). The FBP won all elections from 1928 to 1970 (with overall majorities from ’45 to ’58), and again 1974-1978 and 2001 onwards. Historically, the VU (founded as the LVP in 1918) has been the most “left-wing” party of the two right-wingers. It was founded on a reformist and social Christian platform, and merged with a quasi-Nazi party in the ’30s to form the current VU. The VU is now right-wing and quasi-identical to the FBP, but the most left-wing of the two right-wing parties. It is seen as a workers’ party, and supports social rights.  The FBP was founded in 1918 as a reactionary conservative/Clergy response to the LVP’s formation. Strong with what is left of farmers and rural people. The FBP supported Prince Hans Adam II’s push for more powers in 2001-2003.

A third party, the Freie Liste (Free List, FL), a social democratic/green party emerged in the late ’80’s and first won seats (2) in 1993. The FL has been critical of Liechtenstein’s banking secrecy, while both the FBP and VU are in favour. Since then, it’s support has gone in amusing zigzags:

1993: 10.4%, 2 seats

1993: 8.5%, 1 seat

1999: 11.6%, 2 seats

2001: 8.8%, 1 seat

2005: 13%, 3 seats

Since 2005, the government has been formed by the FBP, which has 3 out of 5 cabinet seats and the VU (2 out of 5 cabinet seats). The Prime Minister, Otmar Hasler, is from the FBP. The Deputy PM, Klaus Tschütscher, is from the VU.

Despite the media expecting few changes, quite a complete reversal happened. The VU defeated the FBP, while the FL continued it’s zigzag pattern by falling back below 10% and winning only one seat. Liechtenstein is in the midst of a dispute with the EU and Germany over banking secrecy and tax evasion, Liechtenstein specialties. The results should not be interpreted as the wish for a change of policy on the issue, just a change of style in dealing with the issue. The FBP and VU are ideologically quasi-identical, and their position on banking secrecy is probably almost the same. The only party critical to banking secrecy, the FL, lost votes. Here are the results, unweighted. Turnout was 84.6%

VU 47.6% (+9.4%) winning 13 seats (+3)
FBP 43.5% (-5.2%) winning 10 seats (-1)
FL 8.9% (-4.1%) winning 1 seat (-2)

Oberland: VU 48.9% (8); FBP 41.7% (6); FL 9.4% (1). t/o 83.4%
Unterland: FBP 48.2% (5); 44.2% (5); FL 7.6% (0). t/o 86.9%


Otmar Hasler, the current FBP Prime Minister, has resigned. Klaus Tschütscher, the current Deputy PM, is the new Prime Minister, probably at the head of a government which will include only the VU.

Posted on February 8, 2009, in Liechtenstein. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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