Liechtenstein votes in parliamentary polls

Smaller parties seek a bigger say in the mountaintop monarchy wedged between Austria and Switzerland.

    Liechtenstein is going to the polls for parliamentary elections, with two centre-right parties vying for dominance and smaller parties seeking a bigger say in the mountaintop monarchy.

    In the country of fewer than 38,000 inhabitants, ballots are open for only 90 minutes on Sunday. However, most people vote by mail. 

    For decades, the Progressive Citizens' Party (FBP) and the Patriotic Union (VU) have formed governments in the wealthy principality, which is wedged between Austria and Switzerland.

    The election of Liechtenstein's 25 MPs on Sunday is also expected to decide on the political fate of Prime Minister Adrian Hasler, the FBP leader. According to the results, he might have to cede the post to his current deputy, Thomas Zwiefelhofer of the VU.

    Both of the main parties lost ground in the 2013 elections, while the populist Independents and the left-wing Free List won a total of six additional seats.

    Main parties criticised

    The Independents have criticised the two mainstream parties for dividing Liechtenstein among themselves.

    Whatever the outcome, the Liechtenstein royal family will continue to wield ultimate authority. The regent, Prince Alois, has the power to suspend parliament and dismiss the government, and he can veto bills.

    The royal family's political power is backed by financial muscle.

    They own the LGT, the world's largest family-held private bank, which manages assets totalling 143bn Swiss francs ($144bn).

    SOURCE: DPA news agency


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