The Government is Liechtenstein's highest executive body. The Government, which is a collegiate body consisting of the Prime Minister and four Ministers, reports to Parliament as well as to the Prince. It is appointed to four-year periods of office by the Prince, on the recommendation of Parliament. The Government is based in Vaduz.
All Liechtenstein citizens who fulfil the eligibility requirements for Parliament may be elected to the Government. The two Liechtenstein regions, the Oberland and the Unterland, are each entitled to at least two Government members. The period of office is four years.
The history of the government is closely linked to Liechtenstein's constitutional history. In the first constitution of 1862 the Government was established as the Executive. The Chairman of the Government (Prime Minister), however, continued to be appointed by the Prince.
The Government originally comprised the Governor and two Ministers (part-time) as well as the Secretary as the Keeper of the Minutes. The Governor, who acted as the Prime Minister, was appointed for an indefinite period. The Governors were mostly Austrian administrators, as a rule of aristocratic lineage. The Court Chancellery in Vienna acted as the appeals instance. The "rule" of the Governor ended with the new constitution of 1921. Popular pressure, above all from the Volkspartei, was too strong after the November Putsch of 1918. There was a desire to have a local man, a Liechtenstein citizen as Prime Minister.
The Constitution of 1921 broadly met the demands of the population at the time. Until 1965 the Government comprised the Prime Minister and two ministers, since then it has had five members: Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and three members. In 1993, nine years after women secured the right to vote in Liechtenstein, Cornelia Gassner became the first woman in the history of the country to hold government office.
The Constitution grants the Prime Minister special prerogatives and powers. The Prime Minister attends to the matters assigned directly to him by the Prince, signs legislation as well as the decrees and ordinances issued by the Prince and his Regency. Only the Prime Minister swears an oath of office to the Prince or Regent. The other members of the Government and the government officials swear oaths of office to the Prime Minister.
Members of Government: