Amendment to the constitution or new law have to be adopted by Parliament, signed by both the Prince and the head of government, and published in the Principality's Law Gazette.
Prince Hans Adam II is the head of state. He may only exercise his right to state leadership in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and of other laws.
He represents the state vis-à-vis foreign states. He signs international treaties either in person or delegates this function to a plenipotentiary. Some treaties under international law only become valid when they have been ratified by Parliament.
On the basis of the names put forward by Parliament, the Prince nominates the government, district and high court judges, the judges of the Supreme Court, and the presidents and their deputies of the Constitutional Court and of the Administrative Court of Appeal.
The Prince's other authorities include exercising the right to mitigate and commute punishments that have been imposed with legal force and the abolition — i.e., the dismissal — of investigations that have been initiated. All judgments are issued in the name of the Prince.
The Government of Liechtenstein is based on the principle of collegiality; namely, of colleagues collaborating with each other. The government consists of the head of government and four Councilors. The members of the government are proposed by the Parliament and are appointed by the Prince. Only men or women born in Liechtenstein, and who are eligible to be elected to Parliament, may be elected to the government committee. The two electoral areas of the country, the highlands and the lowlands, are entitled to at least two members of the government, and their respective deputies must come from the same area.
The Diet (Landtag) has 25 members, elected for a four year term by proportional representation in two multi-seat constituencies. Until 1989, 15 members represented the population of the two constituencies (six for the lowland area and nine for the highland area). Since 1989 the lowland constituency has been entitled to have 10 members and the highland area 15. The Parliament's main task is to discuss and adopt resolutions on constitutional proposals and draft government bills. It has the additional duties of giving its assent to important international treaties; of electing members of the government, judges, and board members of the Principality's institutions; setting the annual budget and approving taxes and other public charges; and supervising the administration of the state. The Parliament observes its rights and duties in the course of sessions of the whole Parliament and through the parliamentary commissions that it elects. All members of Parliament exercise their mandates in addition to their normal professions or occupations. The president of Parliament and his deputy are both elected at the opening meeting for the current year. The president convenes the individual meetings during the session, leads them, and represents Parliament externally. During the parliamentary recess — normally from January to February/March — a "state committee" assumes Parliament's duties, and such a committee must also be elected in the case of any adjournment or dissolution of Parliament. A "state committee" consists of the president of Parliament and four other members. The duties and working procedures of Parliament are laid down in the constitution and in Parliament's standing orders.
Moreover the people of Liechtenstein have very strong direct democratic rights. At least 1000 citizens can initiate a referendum on any law. At least 1500 can suspend the parliament or change the constitution.
From 1938 to 1997 Liechtenstein had a coalition government. Until a few years ago there were only two parties in Parliament, the Fatherland Union and the Progressive Citizens' Party. Liechtenstein's distinctive form of coalition government came to an end in April 1997. The Fatherland Union took sole responsibility for the government during the 1997 to 2001 Parliament, with its members filling all the positions on the government committee. Since 2001 it has been the Progressive Citizen's Party that has provided all the members of the government. The minority parties, as opposition parties, act as a check on the government in Parliament and on parliamentary commissions.