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Liechtenstein rejects call to remove prince's veto

Voters in tiny Liechtenstein have soundly rejected a call to take away the ruling prince's power to veto referendum results.

Government figures showed that 76.1 percent of voters, or 11,629 people, rejected the initiative titled "Yes — So that your vote counts" in a referendum Sunday. Turnout was 82.9 percent.

Hereditary Prince Alois threatened to use his veto in September to block a plan to legalize abortion, but a majority voted against the change. The royal family could have vetoed having its power of veto voted down.

That would have made Alois the first prince to use his veto since his grandfather, Franz Joseph II, blocked a revision of the country's hunting laws three decades ago. Hans-Adam II, Alois' father, never exercised the right of veto.

However, he did push through a new constitution in 2003 that gave the monarch greater powers, including to appoint judges and fire the government without reason.

Alois rules the Alpine principality, which is wedged between Switzerland and Austria. Hans-Adam II remains head of state but has passed most of his powers to Alois.

On Sunday, Hans-Adam said in a statement that the royal family "has taken note with joy and gratitude of the fact that a large majority of the population wants to continue the 300-year partnership between the people and the royal house which has been so successful."