Feature

Prince gets his way

The week's news at a glance.

Liechtenstein

The people of Liechtenstein voted to give Prince Hans-Adams II the powers of an absolute monarch after he petulantly threatened to move to Austria. The perpetually tanned, billionaire prince finally won everything he has been demanding for the past 10 years—including the power to appoint and dismiss the government and veto legislation. Hans-Adams’ family has governed the tiny principality of 33,000 people for 284 years, and in recent decades, Liechtenstein has been transformed into a fabulously wealthy tax haven. Today there are more companies registered in Liechtenstein than there are citizens. To make its democratic government perform more efficiently, the prince had insisted, he needed the power to dismiss incompetent elected officials and kill bad laws. The national referendum was bitterly contested; the prince called opponents ingrates and traitors, and vowed to take the royal family into exile if he lost. He won, with 64 percent of the vote. “It’s a very, very pleasing result,” the prince said.

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