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Constitution of Liechtenstein (1921, rev. 2003)

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3Preamble

4We, John II, by the Grace of God, Prince Regnant of Liechtenstein, Duke of Troppau, Count of Rietberg, etc. etc. etc. make known that the Constitution of 26 September 1862 has been modified by Us with the assent of Our Diet as follows:

5CHAPTER I. THE PRINCIPALITY

6Art 1

71. The Principality of Liechtenstein is a State consisting of two regions with eleven communes. It is based upon the principle of enabling the people residing within its borders to live in peace and freedom. The region of Vaduz (Oberland) consists of the communes of Vaduz, Balzers, Planken, Schaan, Triesen and Triesenberg; the region of Schellenberg (Unterland) consists of the communes of Eschen, Gamprin, Mauren, Ruggell and Schellenberg.

82. Vaduz is the capital and the seat of the Diet and the Government.

9Art 2

10The Principality is a constitutional, hereditary monarchy on a democratic and parliamentary basis (Art. 79 and 80); the power of the State is inherent in and issues from the Prince Regnant and the People and shall be exercised by both in accordance with the provisions of the present Constitution.

11Art 3

12The succession to the throne, hereditary in the Princely House of Liechtenstein, the coming-of-age of the Prince Regnant and of the Heir Apparent, as well as any guardianship which may be required, are to be determined by the Princely House in the form of a dynasty law.

13Art 4

141. Changes in the boundaries of the territory of the State may only be made by a law. Boundary changes between communes and the union of existing ones also require a majority decision of the citizens residing there who are entitled to vote.

152. Individual communes have the right to secede from the State. A decision to initiate the secession procedure shall be taken by a majority of the citizens residing there who are entitled to vote. Secession shall be regulated by a law or, as the case may be, a treaty. In the latter event, a second ballot shall be held in the commune after the negotiations have been completed.

16Art 5

17The coat of arms of the State is that of the Princely House of Liechtenstein; the national colours are blue and red.

18Art 6

19The German language is the national and official language.

20CHAPTER II. THE PRINCE REGNANT

21Art 7

221. The Prince Regnant is the Head of State and shall exercise his sovereign authority in conformity with the provisions of the present Constitution and of the other laws.

232. The Prince Regnant is not subject to the jurisdiction of the courts and does not have legal responsibility. The same applies to any member of the Princely House who exercises the function of head of state in accordance with Art. 13bis.

24Art 8

251. The Prince Regnant shall represent the State in all its relations with foreign countries, without prejudice to the necessary participation of the responsible Government.

262. Treaties by which national territory is ceded, national property alienated, rights of sovereignty or State prerogatives disposed of, any new burden for the Principality or its citizens imposed or any obligation to the detriment of the rights of the People of the Principality contracted shall not be valid unless they have received the assent of the Diet.

27Art 9

28Every law shall require the sanction of the Prince Regnant in order to acquire validity.

29Art 10

301. The Prince Regnant shall take, through the Government, and independently of the Diet, the steps required for the implementation and enforcement of the laws, and any action required in pursuance of the powers of administration and supervision, and shall issue the requisite ordinances (Art. 92). In urgent cases he shall take the necessary measures for the security and welfare of the State.

312. Emergency decrees may not set aside the Constitution as a whole or individual provisions of it but may only limit the applicability of individual provisions. Emergency decrees can neither limit every person’s right to life, the prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment or the prohibition of slavery and forced labour nor place any restriction on the “no punishment without law” rule. Moreover, the provisions of this Article cannot limit the scope of Art. 3, 13ter and 113. Emergency decrees shall cease to apply six months after they have been issued.

32Art 11

33The Prince Regnant shall appoint the judges in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution (Art. 96).

34Art 12

351. The Prince Regnant shall possess the prerogative of remitting, mitigating or commuting sentences which have been legally pronounced, and of quashing prosecutions that have been initiated.

362. Only at the instigation of the Diet shall the Prince Regnant exercise his prerogative of remission or mitigation in favour of a member of the Government sentenced on account of his official acts.

37Art 13

38Every successor to the throne shall, before receiving the oath of allegiance, shall declare upon his Princely honour and dignity in a written proclamation that he will govern the Principality of Liechtenstein in conformity with the Constitution and the other laws, that he will maintain its integrity, and will observe the rights of sovereignty indivisibly and in like manner.

39Art 13bis

40The Prince Regnant may entrust the next Heir Apparent of his House who has attained majority with the exercise of the sovereign powers held by him as his representative should he be temporarily prevented or in preparation for the Succession.

41Art 13ter

42Not less than 1,500 citizens have the right to table a reasoned motion of no confidence in the Prince. The Diet must issue a recommendation on this at its next session and order the holding of a referendum in accordance with Art. 66 Para. 6. If the motion is accepted in the referendum, it must be communicated to the Prince for consideration under the dynasty law. The prince must inform the Diet within six months of the decision reached in compliance with the said Law.

43CHAPTER III. FUNCTIONS OF THE STATE

44Art 14

45The supreme function of the State is to promote the general welfare of the People. For this purpose, the State shall provide for the institution and maintenance of law, and for the protection of the religious, moral and economic interests of the People.

46Art 15

47The State shall devote particular attention to education and schooling. This must be so ordered and administered that, from the co-operation of the family, the school and the Church, the younger generation may be imbued with religious and moral principles and patriotic sentiments and may be fitted for their future occupations.

48Art 16

491. The whole field of education and schooling shall be under the supervision of the State, without prejudice to the inviolability of the doctrine of the Church.

502. Education shall be compulsory for all.

513. The State shall ensure that adequate compulsory instruction in the elementary subjects is given free of charge in public schools.

524. Religious instruction shall be given by the Church authorities.

535. All persons with children in their care shall ensure that they receive education of the standard prescribed for public elementary schools.

546. Annulled

557. Annulled

568. Private education shall be permissible provided that it conforms with the legal regulations governing the period of schooling, the educational aims and the arrangements prevailing in the public schools.

57Art 17

581. The State shall support and promote education and schooling.

592. It shall provide appropriate scholarships to help children of good intellectual attainments but without financial means attend institutes of higher education.

60Art 18

61The State shall be responsible for the public health system, assist institutions for the care of the sick, and seek by legislation to combat intemperance and to reform alcoholics and work-shy persons.

62Art 19

631. The State shall safeguard the right to work and shall protect the workers, especially women and young persons employed in commerce and industry.

642. Sundays and public holidays recognized by the State shall be observed as public days of rest, without prejudice to the legal regulations concerning rest on Sundays and public holidays.

65Art 20

661. To increase employment and to advance its economic interests, the State shall promote and assist agriculture, alpine farming, trade and industry. In particular, it shall promote insurance against damage and injuries to which workers and goods are exposed, and shall take measures to prevent such injuries and damage.

672. It shall pay special attention to the development of the transportation system in accordance with modern requirements.

683. It shall support landslide control measures and afforestation and drainage operations and shall monitor and encourage every endeavour to develop new sources of income.

69Art 21

70The State shall possess sovereign rights over waters in conformity with the laws existing or to be enacted hereafter in this matter. The utilisation and distribution of such waters and flood control measures shall be regulated by law and promoted, with due regard to the development of technology. Rights relating to electricity shall be regulated by law.

71Art 22

72The State shall exercise sovereign rights over hunting, fishing and mining; when legislating on these matters, it shall protect the interests of agriculture and of communal revenues.

73Art 23

74The currency and banking system shall be regulated by the State.

75Art 24

761. By enacting the necessary legislation, the State shall provide for an equitable system of taxation, which shall exempt from taxation incomes below a minimum standard of living and shall impose heavier burdens on persons in higher wealth or income brackets.

772. The financial situation of the State must be improved to the utmost possible extent and every effort must be made to open up new sources of revenue to meet public needs.

78Art 25

79Public poor relief shall be administered by the communes in conformity with specific laws. The State shall be responsible, however, for the supervision of such activities. It may grant appropriate assistance to the communes, especially for the proper care of orphans, the mentally handicapped, persons suffering from incurable diseases and the aged.

80Art 26

81The State shall support and promote health, old age, disability and fire insurance schemes.

82Art 27

831. The State shall provide for a rapid procedure for legal actions and the execution thereof, under conditions that will safeguard material rights; it shall also provide for a system of administrative law based on the same principles.

842. The exercise of the professional representation of parties shall be regulated by law.

85CHAPTER IV. GENERAL RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF CITIZENS OF THE PRINCIPALITY

86Art 28

871. Every citizen shall be freely entitled to reside in any locality within the territory of the State and to acquire property of any description, provided that he observes the detailed legal regulations relating to such matters.

882. The domicile rights of aliens shall be determined by treaties or, in their absence, on a basis of reciprocity.

893. Persons staying within the territory of the Principality shall be bound to observe its laws and shall be entitled to the protection afforded by the Constitution and the other laws.

90Art 29

911. All citizens shall be entitled to civic rights in conformity with the provisions of the present Constitution.

922. All citizens who have completed their 18th year, have their normal residence in the Principality and whose right to vote has not been lost may exercise all political rights in matters of State.

93Art 30

94The conditions under which citizenship rights may be acquired or forfeited shall be determined by law.

95Art 31

961. All citizens shall be equal before the law. The public offices shall be equally open to them, subject to observance of the legal regulations.

972. There shall be equality of rights between the sexes.

983. The rights of aliens shall be determined in the first instance by treaties, or, in the absence of such, on the basis of reciprocity.

99Art 32

1001. Personal liberty, the immunity of the home and the inviolability of letters and written matter are guaranteed.

1012. Except in the cases specified in law and in the manner thus prescribed, no person may be arrested or detained in custody, no houses or persons may be searched and no letters or written matter may be examined or seized.

1023. Persons arrested unlawfully or when demonstrably innocent and those proved innocent after conviction shall be entitled to full compensation from the State as determined by the courts. Whether and to what extent the State has a right of recourse against third parties in such cases shall be regulated by law.

103Art 33

1041. Nobody may be deprived of his proper judge; special tribunals may not be instituted.

1052. Nobody may be threatened with or subjected to penalties other than those provided by the law.

1063. Accused persons shall have the right of defence in all penal proceedings.

107Art 34

1081. The inviolability of private property is guaranteed; confiscation may only take place in such cases as determined by law.

1092. Copyright shall be regulated by law.

110Art 35

1111. Where necessary in the public interest, property of any kind may be compulsorily assigned or subjected to an encumbrance, against appropriate compensation, the amount of which in cases of dispute shall be determined by the courts.

1122. The procedure for expropriation shall be regulated by law.

113Art 36

114Trade and industry shall be free within the limits prescribed by law; the extent to which exclusive commercial and industrial privileges may be admissible for specified periods of time shall be regulated by law.

115Art 37

1161. Freedom of belief and conscience are guaranteed for all persons.

1172. The Roman Catholic Church is the State Church and as such enjoys the full protection of the State; other confessions shall be entitled to practise their creeds and to hold religious services to the extent consistent with morality and public order.

118Art 38

119The right of ownership and all other proprietary rights of ecclesiastical communities and religious associations in respect of their institutions, foundations and other possessions devoted to worship, education and charity are guaranteed. The administration of Church property in the parishes shall be regulated by a special law; the assent of the Church authorities shall be sought before the said law is promulgated.

120Art 39

121The enjoyment of civil and political rights shall not be dependent on religious belief nor may the latter constitute a ground for any dereliction of civil obligations.

122Art 40

123Every person shall be entitled to freely express his opinion and to communicate his ideas by word of mouth or in writing, print or pictures within the limits of the law and morality; no censorship may be exercised except in respect of public performances and exhibitions.

124Art 41

125The right of free association and assembly is guaranteed within the limits prescribed by law.

126Art 42

127The right to petition the Diet and the National Committee is guaranteed; not only individuals whose rights or interests are affected but also communes and corporations are entitled to have their wishes and requests brought before the Diet by a member of that body.

128Art 43

129The right of complaint is guaranteed. Any citizen shall be entitled to lodge a complaint regarding any action or procedure on the part of a public authority which is contrary to the Constitution, the law or the official regulations and detrimental to his rights or interests. Such complaint shall be addressed to that authority which is immediately superior to the authority concerned and may, if necessary, be pursued to the highest authority, except when the right of recourse may be barred by a legal restriction. If a complaint thus submitted is rejected by the superior authority, the latter shall be bound to declare to the complaining party the reasons for its decision.

130Art 44

1311. Every man fit to bear arms shall be liable, up to the completion of his 60th year, to serve in the defence of his country in the event of emergency.

1322. Apart from this contingency, no armed units may be organised or maintained, except so far as may be necessary for the provision of the police service and the preservation of internal order. Detailed regulations regarding this matter shall be laid down by law.

133CHAPTER V. THE DIET

134Art 45

1351. The Diet is the legal organ representing all the citizens of the Principality and as such has the duty of safeguarding and vindicating the rights and interest of the People in relation to the Government in conformity with the provisions of the present Constitution and also of promoting as far as possible the welfare of the Princely House and of the country while faithfully adhering to the principles laid down in this Constitution.

1362. The rights appertaining to the Diet may only be exercised in the lawfully constituted assembly of that body.

137Art 46

1381. The Diet shall consist of 25 Representatives who shall be elected by the People by universal, equal, secret and direct suffrage according to the system of proportional representation. The Upper Country (Oberland) and the Lower Country (Unterland) shall each form a constituency. Of the 25 Representatives, 15 shall be elected by the Upper Country and 10 by the Lower Country.

1392. In addition to the 25 Representatives, substitutes shall be elected in each constituency. For each three Representatives in a constituency, each electoral group shall have one substitute but if an electoral group has obtained one mandate it shall have at least one substitute.

1403. Mandates shall be distributed among electoral groups which have obtained at least eight percent of the valid votes cast in the country as a whole.

1414. The members of the Government and the Courts may not be members of the Diet at the same time.

1425. Detailed regulations regarding the conduct of the elections shall be laid down in a special law.

143Art 47

1441. The Representatives shall be elected for four years, provided that the regular elections shall be held in the February or March of the year when the fourth year of their mandate ends. Representatives shall be eligible for reelection.

1452. Annulled

146Art 48

1471. The Prince Regnant has the right, subject to the exception laid down in the following Paragraph, to convene the Diet, to close it, and, on warrantable grounds, which must on each occasion be communicated to the assembled Diet, to prorogue it for three months or to dissolve it. The prorogation, closing or dissolution of the Diet may only be proclaimed before the assembled Diet.

1482. In pursuance of a substantiated written request submitted by not less than 1,000 citizens entitled to vote or of a resolution adopted by the communal assemblies of not less than three communes, the Diet must be convened.

1493. Subject to the same conditions as in the preceding Paragraph, 1,500 citizens entitled to vote or four communes which have adopted resolutions to that effect at their communal assemblies may demand a referendum with regard to the dissolution of the Diet.

150Art 49

1511. The regular convocation of the Diet shall be issued at the beginning of every year in the form of a Princely edict, indicating the place, day and hour of the assembly.

1522. The sessions of the Diet during the course of the year shall be decreed by its President.

1533. When a period of prorogation has expired, a fresh summons convening the Diet shall be issued within one month in the form of a Princely edict.

1544. Should a Representative be prevented from attending one or several consecutive sittings, a substitute from his electoral group shall sit and vote in his place.

155Art 50

156Should the Diet be dissolved, new elections must take place within six weeks. The newly elected Representatives shall then be summoned to meet within fourteen days.

157Art 51

1581. In the case of an accession to the Throne, the Diet shall be convened to an extraordinary session within 30 days for the purpose of receiving the declaration of the Prince Regnant as provided for in Art. 13 and of taking the oath of allegiance.

1592. If the Diet has already been dissolved, the new elections shall be expedited so that it may be convened at the latest on the fortieth day after the accession of the new sovereign.

160Art 52

1611. At its first regularly convened sitting, the Diet shall proceed, under the chairmanship of its oldest member, to the election of a President and a Vice-President from among its members to direct its business for the current year.

1622. Annulled

163Art 53

164The Representatives shall be bound to attend in person at the seat of the Government in compliance with the notice of convocation. If a Representative is impeded from attending, he must, on receiving the first notice of convocation, promptly notify the Government and subsequently the President, stating the reasons preventing his attendance. If the impediment is of a permanent nature, a by-election shall be held, if the Representative cannot be replaced by the substitution system.

165Art 54

1661. The Diet shall be opened with due solemnity by the Prince Regnant, in person or by his proxy. All the new members shall swear the following oath to the Prince Regnant or his proxy:

167“I hereby swear to observe the State Constitution and the existing laws and to promote in the Diet the welfare of the country, without any ulterior motives, to the best of my ability and conscience. So help me God.”

1682. Subsequent members of the Diet shall take this oath before the President.

169Art 55

170The Diet shall be closed by the Prince Regnant, in person or by his proxy.

171Art 56

1721. No Representative may be arrested while the Diet is in session without the assent of that body unless he is apprehended in flagrante delicto.

1732. In the latter case, the arrest and the grounds therefore must be notified forthwith to the Diet, which shall decide whether the arrest is to be sustained. All papers relating to the case must be placed immediately at the disposal of the Diet if it so requests.

1743. If a Representative is arrested at a time when the Diet is not in session, the National Committee must be notified forthwith, and informed at the same time of the grounds for the arrest.

175Art 57

1761. The members of the Diet shall vote solely according to their oath and their convictions. They shall never be made to answer for their votes; for their utterances at sittings of the Diet or its committees, they shall be responsible to the Diet alone and can never be sued before a court of justice in respect thereof.

1772. The exercise of disciplinary powers shall be regulated by rules of procedure to be issued hereafter.

178Art 58

1791. For a decision of the Diet to be valid, at least two-thirds of the statutory number of Representatives must be present and it must be adopted by an absolute majority of the members present, except as may otherwise be provided in the present Constitution or in the rules of procedure. The same rules shall apply to elections which the Diet has to undertake.

1802. In the event of an equal division of votes, the President shall have the casting vote: for an election, after the third round of voting and in all other cases after the first round.

181Art 59

1821. Complaints relating to elections shall be referred to the State Court.

1832. The Diet shall adjudicate on the validity of the election of its members and of the election as such on the basis of the election records and, if applicable, of the decision of the State Court (validation procedure)

184Art 60

185The Diet shall adopt its rules of procedure by a resolution and with due regard to the provisions of the present Constitution.

186Art 61

187Representatives shall receive from the State Treasury a daily allowance and travel expenses as prescribed by law.

188Art 62

189In particular, the following matters shall fall within the sphere of activity of the Diet:

190 a.participation in the work of legislation in accordance with the Constitution;

191 b.participation in the conclusion of treaties (Art. 8);

192 c.the establishment of the annual budget and the authorization of taxes and other public dues;

193 d.resolutions on credits, pledges and loans chargeable to the State, and the purchase and sale of State property;

194 e.the resolution on the annual report furnished annually by the Government on the whole of the State administration;

195 f.the submission of suggestions and complaints and the exercise of control with regard to the State administration as a whole (Art. 63);

196 g.the impeachment of members of the Government before the State Court for breaches of the Constitution or of other laws;

197 h.the passing of a resolution on a vote of no confidence in the Government or one of its members.

198Art 63

1991. The Diet shall have the right of control over the whole of the State administration, including the administration of justice. It shall exercise this right inter alia through an audit committee which it shall elect. Its right of control extends neither to the judgments of the courts nor to the functions assigned to the Prince.

2002. The Diet may at any time bring defects or abuses which it has observed in the State administration directly to the notice of the Prince Regnant or the Government by the submission of memorials or complaints and to request their redress. The results of the enquiry instituted in respect of such matters and the measures ordered in consequence shall be communicated to the Diet.

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