Liechtenstein profile

Head of state: Prince Hans-Adam II

Regent and crown prince: Alois

Liechtenstein head of state Prince Hans-Adam II Prince Hans-Adam II is head of state

Prince Hans-Adam, a successful banker, became head of state following the death of his father, Prince Franz Josef, in 1989. In August 2004 he handed over the day-to-day running of the principality to his son, Crown Prince Alois, while remaining titular head of state.

In 2003 the royals won sweeping new powers in a constitutional referendum, which gave them the power to veto parliamentary decisions and to sack the government.

The family also won powers over the appointment of judges, powers that Prince Hans-Adam said were essential to ensure that the judiciary was independent enough to tackle tasks such as chasing illegal assets effectively.

Prince Hans-Adam noted that the changes to the constitution also took away his right to rule by emergency decree for an unlimited period and to nominate government officials.

Prince Hans-Adam, 58 at the time of the referendum, had threatened to leave Liechtenstein for Austria if he lost.

The following year he handed over the practical running of the country to his son and heir, Crown Prince Alois, whom he appointed regent.

Liechtenstein Crown Prince Alois Crown Prince Alois has taken over the day-to-day running of the country

Alois has followed in his father's footsteps in exercising to the full the monarch's extensive - and according to critics, anachronistic - prerogatives.

In 2011, he angered some by threatening to use his powers to veto a move decriminalise abortion, if approved in a referendum. Although Liechtensteiners in any case rejected the proposal, critics said he had effectively rendered the vote meaningless.

However, the following year, Liechtensteiners voted against a proposal to abolish the prince's power to quash measures passed by referendum.

In a slight echo his father's threat to leave almost 10 years ago, Crown Prince Alois had suggested he might quit politics if the vote was successful.

Supporters said the result emphasised the monarchy's enduring popularity and importance to Liechtenstein.

Critics accuse the royal family of using its economic clout - it owns and runs the LGT, principality's biggest bank and asset management fund, and a major employer in the country - to get its way.

In 2009, the royal family won respect in international financial circles for backing moves to improve the transparency of the banking system.

Prime minister: Adrian Hasler

Adrian Hasler of the centre-right Progressive Citizens Party (PCP) took office in March 2013, after his party came first in the February general election, winning 10 seats in the 25-seat parliament.

Mr Hasler succeeded Klaus Tschuetscher, who had held the post since March 2009. Mr Tschuetscher's conservative Patriotic Union (PU) gained an absolute majority in parliament in the 2009 election, but the party slipped down to second place in 2013, winning only eight seats in parliament.

Both the two main parties lost support to a new political grouping, The Independents (DU), which came out of nowhere to take 15% of the national vote in the 2013 election. The Independents won four seats, with the result that the chamber for the first time in its history houses four parties.

Trailing in fourth place is the leftist-green Free List, which gained three seats.

An economist by training, Adrian Hasler first entered parliament in 2001 as a PCP member. He resigned his seat in March 2004 in order to become the head of Liechtenstein's national police force.

He has vowed to reduce the country's budget deficit by cutting back on public spending.

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