eSwatini goes to unique polls sans political parties

  • September 21, 2018

What happens when one of the largest absolute monarchies in the world goes to polls? One cannot expect a regular election in eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland. On Friday, the citizens of this small African kingdom came out to vote to choose candidates for seats in the House of Assembly.

Though, the opposition has described the elections as a “farce” due to the absence of political parties.

Since political organizations are not allowed to participate in elections in eSwatini, candidates for the 59 positions are running on a personal basis and not under the label of a party.

“Elections are a competition between political parties. But here, we are witnessing a non-election, a system of nomination by the royalists. If you participate, you cannot defend your political ideas,” said Alvit Dlamini, head of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLG), the oldest party in eSwatini or ex-Swaziland.

“The elections in the eSwatini are unique,” admits its Vice-President Pholile Dlamini, who talks about “monarchical democracy”.

However, it is King Mswati III who holds the reigns of the Parliament and the Government. The lower house is composed of 69 members, 59 elected and 10 appointed by the King, and the house cannot pass a law that has not received approval from the King.

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