eswatini

The tiny African kingdom of eSwatini, ruled by an absolute monarch, goes to the polls today. Critics describe the elections as a sham but supporters say it is a unique blend of tradition and politics.

Political parties are banned from the election, and about five hundred thousand eligible voters must choose from individual Candidates who are almost all loyal to King Mswati.

The king is one of the world’s last absolute rulers wielding complete control over Parliament, Government, Judiciary, Civil service and Security forces.

Mswati, who has 14 wives and more than 25 children, has a reputation for lavish spending on planes and palaces, while 63 percent of his subjects live below the poverty line.

Without consultation, he changed the country’s name from Swaziland to eSwatin in April this year. Election campaigning was discreet, with no rallies, no manifestos and just a handful of candidate posters on the main road junctions outside the capital Mbabane.

 

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