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Europe

Liechtenstein Prime Minister Resigns After Losing Election

Liechtenstein's Prime Minister Otmar Hasler resigned Sunday, Feb. 8, after losing power in an election in the Alpine principality.

Vaduz castle in Liechtenstein

There's going to be a change at the top in Vaduz

Hasler, the head of the Progressive Citizens' Party (FBP), quit after his party came second with 43.5 percent of the vote. The FBP had governed the landlocked micro-state -- famous for its secretive banking sector -- in coalition with the Fatherland Union (VU).

The VU gained 9.4 percent to score 47.6 percent of the vote and overtake the FBP.

The largest party in the 25-member Landtag parliament in the capital, Vaduz, now has the right to nominate the head of government, and two cabinet ministers. The smaller party nominates the deputy prime minister.

There are 18,600 eligible voters in Liechtenstein, which hit the headlines last year after German authorities paid a whistleblower to reveal details of tax avoidance by wealthy citizens from various EU countries.

Until Sunday's election, the FBP had been the largest party with 12 seats, the VU had ten and a third party, the Free List had three.

Traditionally highly-secretive about its banking sector, the key election issue in Liechtenstein has been tax.

With more than twice as many registered companies as citizens, and at least 15 banks, the principality has long been regarded as an center for tax avoidance -- something both US President Barack Obama and EU leaders have vowed to crack down on as part of the global economic crisis.

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