I just read that in Liechtenstein (which is a small country located between Austria and Switzerland) women didn’t get suffrage until 1984. A referendum was held (which was limited only to male voters) and d’you know how women won the vote in Liechtenstein? Because the number of votes FOR suffrage was 2.6% higher than the number of votes AGAINST, which pushed it into a majority vote of 51.3% FOR. And I thought France were slow for only getting suffrage after world war 2. I had no idea that there were places in Europe where women couldn’t vote until as late as the 70s and 80s.
Switzerland had it pretty bad too — 1971 at the federal level, but the last canton didn’t get there until 1991. But yeah, 1984 is pretty much unacceptably late to have gotten on the bandwagon.
Interestingly, in the first referendum on the subject in 1968, the only of the three referenda on the subject where women’s and men’s votes were tabulated separately, only 25 more women voted in favor of suffrage than voted against (1,266 for and 1,241 against).
Women are still only 6 of the 25 Members of the Landtag, which is actually still a better rate of representation than in the US Congress (24% vs. 18.1% in the US), but still not great.
Also interestingly, at least according to David Beattie, one of the reasons men voted against women’s suffrage was that they were concerned if it were allowed women would try to illegalize divorce again.
Liechtenstein has a very unusual political history. (See also: the 2012 referendum.)
Government and Parliament Building of Liechtenstein. In the background, the Royal Palace.
This is in Vaduz. The parliament is the weird wooden building in the background; I didn’t realize the government building was a) right next door and b) so pretty.
For a start it is ridiculously small – barely 1/250th the size of Switzerland, which is itself ridiculously small. Liechtenstein is the last remaining fragment of the Holy Roman Empire, and so obscure that its ruling family didn’t bother to come and see it for 150 years. It has two political parties, popularly known as the Reds and the Blacks, which have so few ideological differences that they share a motto: “Faith in God, Prince, and Fatherland.”
Liechtenstein’s last military engagement was in 1866, when it sent eighty men to fight against the Italians. Nobody was killed. In fact – you’re going to like this – they came back with 81 men, because they had made a friend on the way. Two years later, realizing that the Liechtensteiners could beat no one, the crown prince disbanded the army.
(via neither here nor there)
Perhaps it should have kept its army though, since it keeps on getting “invaded”:
1992: Switzerland has apologized for sending troops into its unarmed neighbor Liechtenstein by mistake, officials in the tiny principality said.
Swiss recruits on maneuvers set up an observation post in Triesenberg on Tuesday, overlooking the fact that the town is not located on Swiss territory, the officials said late Friday. The soldiers asked a local resident if they could use her garage to set up their post, they said. She agreed but was unnerved by their gas masks and rifles since Liechtenstein with its population of under 30,000 has no army. She reported the incident to police, who asked the soldiers to leave.
(via LA Times)
2007: The Swiss army is not renowned for its aggressive expeditionary adventures - but it does appear to have accidentally invaded Liechtenstein.
According to the Swiss daily Blick, around 170 infantry soldiers from the famously neutral country wandered more than a mile across the unmarked border with the tiny principality.
The incident happened yesterday morning and the Swiss troops turned back - probably slightly sheepishly - after they realised their mistake.
As well as the obligatory Swiss army knives, the troops were armed with assault rifles - however, they had no ammunition, Mr Reist said.
Officials in Liechtenstein, which is on Switzerland’s eastern borders, also sought to play down the incident.
Markus Amman, an interior ministry spokesman, said nobody in Liechtenstein had even noticed the soldiers. “It’s not like they stormed over here with attack helicopters or something,” he said.
(via The Guardian)
The title and opening two paragraphs here are taken from Bill Bryson’s Neither Here Nor There.
I believe in the reports I read the Swiss soldiers in 2007 lost their way due to fog, but I may be misremembering.
In international organizations, delegations from small states usually face fewer domestic constraints, which allows them greater independence, says Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the UN. He further highlights the importance of forging alliances with other small states.
designed by Josef Seger
On the reorganization of Liechtenstein’s postal administration. The presence of the Austrian flag on this stamp is striking, and I wish I could say more about it. Keep in mind that in 1964, close alignment with Austria was still within living memory in the Principality.
This. Is. White. Privilege.
let’s all hope for the day when thisiswhiteprivilege learns the difference between superpower privilege and white privilege
nobody would give two shits if there was a royal wedding in liechtenstein
nobody would give two shits if there was a royal wedding in liechtenstein
For what it’s worth, that’s not entirely true; I just can’t find any stories about the marriage between Prince Maximilian and Princess Angela of Liechtenstein at the moment, I think in part because they were married in 2000, when internet news was much less of a thing. Angela and her son Alfons (b. 2001) are the only black members of any European royal family. Alfons is 6th in the current order of succession for the throne of the Principality, although it’s unlikely he’ll ever accede to it unless some very unlikely circumstances come to pass.
All hopes for a participation of Liechtenstein at the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 and a membership of the principality’s only broadcaster 1FLTV in the EBU have unfortunately to be buried. Peter Kölbel, head of 1FLTV, has told The Eurovision Times, that the principality is not a member of the EBU yet and thus can’t participate in Europe’s favourite TV show. “Nothing has changed for us: We will only activate the application for membership in the EBU once the government has granted us access to the media subsidies. We believe that our chances are quite good this time, but a decision can only be expected in April 2012. A participation is thus possible in 2013 at the earliest,” Kölbel told us.
Not gonna lie, I’m disappointed. But so it goes, I guess.
From Pierre Raton’s Liechtenstein: History and Institutions of the Principality.
As regards international organizations, the system allows for a variety of methods. For example, an exchange of notes between Liechtenstein and the Secretariat of the United Nations goes via the Office of the Swiss Observer to the UNO despite the loss of time this involves. The Secretariat passes the note to the Observer who forwards it to the Federal Political Department; the latter hands it on to the Liechtenstein Legation at Berne, which either settles the matter itself or refers it to the Government in Vaduz. The reply comes in reverse by the same cumbersome procedure. In certain cases where the reply is urgent, the UN Secretariat finds itself considerably handicapped. It would be preferable for the correspondence to go directly to the Liechtenstein Government with copies, when necessary, to the Office of the Swiss Observer and to the Political Department in Berne. For Liechtenstein’s representationat international conferences, three different methods are used: one, which might be called the most extreme, consists of Liechtenstein being represented directly by Switzerland. In this case only the Swiss representative takes part in the negotiations and Liechtenstein has no vote. The Swiss plenipotentiaries sign the final Protocol of the conference on behalf of Liechtenstein. This procedure has little to recommend it since it implies the absorption of Liechtenstein by Switzerland and smacks too much of colonial status. The second system is better since it involves only moderate costs and yet gives Liechtenstein complete representation, i.e., a seat and a vote. It consists in charging a Swiss diplomat with representing the Principality’s interests. The diplomat has full powers signed by the Reigning Prince and represents the latter only on the specific matter with which he is charged.
This system was used at conferences in New York under the auspices of the United Nations and also at the election of the judges of the International Court of Justice. The third method is obviously the best one and is used whenever the costs involved are relatively low: direct representation of the Principality by a Liechtenstein delegation. This has in fact been the procedure at various European conferences, and Switzerland has never raised any objections. The relations here have been more of a political than of a juridical nature and on the whole, the system has worked to the satisfaction of both partners.
Note that this was published in 1970; I would be curious to know how Liechtenstein’s accession to the United Nations in 1990 affected this process, given that Switzerland did not join until 2002.
From Pierre Raton’s Liechtenstein: History and Institutions of the Principality (1970).
For Austria, the Liechtenstein question became a vital issue, because of its influence on that of the border province of Vorarlberg, whose population was demanding annexation to Switzerland on the basis of the right of self-determination.
Vorarlberg representatives were already in Berne and were planning to go on to Paris. Liechtenstein’s step threatened to set a dangerous precedent and could precipitate developments to the disadvantage of the Austrian Republic which feared that already the loyalty of several rich border provinces was in considerable doubt. The leaders of the new Austrian state were obviously nervous, but quite unexpectedly, on August 30, the Cabinet accepted the denunciation of the [Customs] Treaty and immediately the border guards were ordered to their posts and food deliveries from Vorarlberg were held up. From September 1 on, Liechtenstein was, for the Austrian customs officials, a foreign country. The Austrian customs officials on duty at the border between Liechtenstein and Switzerland withdrew without turning over the customs houses in proper order. The [Liechtenstein] Legation in Vienna protested many times and was successful at least to the extent that the duty on Liechtenstein’s exports to Austria was lifted and the customs offices eventually handed over in an orderly manner. At the end of November the Austrian Government declared its readiness to negotiate a new Customs Treaty.
It occurs to me to wonder how, if at all, later history might have been different had Vorarlberg successfully arranged to join Switzerland. Would Liechtenstein have followed suit, or would it have become an enclave as San Marino? Would Burgenland and Klagenfurt have followed suit in leaving Austria? What of the impact of Austria’s altered borders on Nazi politics and/or Nazi-Swiss relations?