Liechtenstein has 36.000 inhabitants – and a monarch. The political system is a bit complicated, but essentially they hold a lot of referenda, because it’s quite simple to use direct democracy with only a few people.
The Monarch, however, can overrule any referendum if he so pleases. In fact, he can also ignore anything the parliament decides, which, quite frankly, is a bit odd for a central European country in 2012. The prince also has the right to dissolve government and dismiss parliament.
Two days ago, Liechtenstein held a referendum: do we wish to curtail the monarch’s power? Nearly 80% went to the urns, and 76% voted against the proposal. They wish to keep expressing their opinion in nationwide ballots, but also want the prince to be able to overrule referenda.
It’s the silliest thing I’ve heard in a while. I could not find out yet why this referendum could have not been overruled by the prince (the news ignore that obvious paradox).
Some people argue that the ties to the royal family are very intricate within Liechtenstein, and that voting in favor of the proposal would have made a lot of people risk their jobs. I don’t find that plausible, because these people would not vote at all, instead of voting against it.