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Constitutional crisis deepens in Liechtenstein

During his opening speech of the latest parliamentary session, Prince Hans-Adam II said he would consider going into exile Keystone

Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein has again threatened to go into self-imposed exile if the government denies him more political power.

This content was published on February 7, 2002 - 16:05

His warning comes after the parliament of the tiny state said it would consider reforming the constitution in an effort to find a solution to the crisis. However, Liechtenstein's head of state has so far refused to accept a compromise.

In his speech at the opening of the latest parliamentary session, the prince even went so far as to accuse the opposition of wanting to move towards a dictatorship.

"There have been several occasions in the 20th century when self-proclaimed democrats abolished monarchies without holding a referendum in order to introduce a dictatorship," said Hans-Adam.

He also asked the people and parliamentarians of Liechtenstein to understand why he is not willing to seek a compromise with "the people, who want to abolish the monarchy as well as a democratic state".

No further discussions

The prince emphasised that he was not prepared to discuss the matters any further and said a continuation of the constitutional crisis, which has damaged the country's reputation, would force him and his family to go into exile and move to Vienna.

Liechtenstein's royal family used to reside in Vienna before 1938, and Hans-Adam still owns a palace there.

The constitutional crisis, which has been going on for more than ten years, triggered calls for constitutional reform last December. However, Liechtenstein's parliamentarians are wary of handing over extra powers to the prince at the expense of democracy.

Hans-Adam is demanding that the federal court to give up its authority to arbitrate. He also wants to reign under emergency laws for a period of six months and have the power to sack the whole cabinet after a vote of no confidence.

A survey showed that the most of the country's 32,500-strong population are against constitutional reform; however, most Liechtensteiners would hate to see their monarch go.

A date for a referendum has not been set yet.

swissinfo with agencies

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