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SWAZILAND

Summary of Upcoming Elections


PARLIAMENTARY
September 20, 20132 55 Seats in the House of Assembly

ELECTION ANALYSIS
The 2008 parliamentary elections were described as peaceful, transparent, and credible by the Pan-African Parliament. However, the country has faced a stream of criticism from domestic and international observers for its ongoing ban on political parties. The lack thereof is seen as inhibiting citizen participation in the elections and undermining the principles that underpin the foundations of democracy. The people of Swaziland elect 55 members to the House of Assembly. But, the lions share of control in the country is wielded by King Mswati III who has veto power over the legislature and can summarily dismiss elected officials he deems undesirable. The upcoming September 2013 parliamentary elections will determine the 55 members of parliament who will be (re)elected into the House of Assembly. Even though key issues during the previous elections included the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, famine, the monarchys grip on power and the slow pace of decentralization, it is unlikely that there will be drastic changes toward a more democratic system. The Swazi people have been living under a King long before the country gained its independence from Great Britain in September 1968. Although there have been small protests by some Swazis living in the capital of Mbabane, the majority of the population lives in rural areas beyond the city and appears content with the status quo. Summary of Previous Elections Parliamentary Elections September 19, 20082 Population and Number of Registered Voters Total Population: 1,128,8143 Number of Registered Voters: 350,778

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Results:4 On September 21, the Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC) announced the final results. Only 15 of the 55 outgoing MPs were re-elected. Seven women were elected. On October 7 , the EBC published the list of 10 members appointed by the King. Although the Constitution stipulates that half of the appointed members should be women, the list included only two women. On October 10, the House of Assembly held its first session and re-elected Prince Guduza Dlamini as its Speaker. On October 16, the King appointed Mr. Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini as the Prime Minister. He was sworn in on October 23.

Peoples United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) Leadership: 6 Mario Masuku (President) Founding Date: 7 July 7 , 1983 Platform: 8 We shall work towards maintaining peace in our region, in Africa and the world at large and that we believe in the settlement of both domestic and international disputes by peaceful negotiations. We identify ourselves with all democratic forces in the world which are struggling against oppression of all forms, We recognize and support the right of all peoples of the world to independence, sovereignty and self-determination, We shall subscribe to the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), We strongly condemn the degradation of the environmental, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the arming of space and we call upon all the democratic forces of the world to unite against all such threats to human existence. Party Homepage: http://www.pudemo.org/

MAJOR POLITICAL PARTy


Official political parties are banned due to regulations put in place by the King. However, the Peoples United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) party, a major opposition party to the monarchy, is in exile and operates from South Africa in an attempt to rally those living on the borders to take action against the current system of governance.

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Driving Issues9
The central issues surrounding the elections are the high rate of HIV/AIDS infection and famine, against the backdrop of a monarch who seems to live largely unfettered. King Mswati III has 13 wives and wives-to-be, who have produced 27 children.10 As it happens, the kingdom currently has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS (25.9%) in the world.11 The electoral process is further exacerbated by a lack of political parties. The September 2008 elections were the first to be held following the adoption of the countrys constitution. The new constitution guaranteed the freedom of association, yet restrictions remain on political party activity. Previously, there had been an unequivocal ban on political parties. King Mswati III, who has ruled the country since 1986, retains the power to dissolve parliament and the cabinet at a moments notice. In the absence of political parties, trade unions have led demands for democratic reform. They attempted to block off the border between the kingdom and South Africa to show their discontent with the non-inclusive and undemocratic nature of the electoral process.

House of Assembly: 65 seats; 10 members appointed by the monarch and 55 elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms - Source: CIA World Factbook. (2013, 21 March). Africa: Swaziland. Retrieved from: https://www. cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ geos/wz.html - Source: IFES Election Guide. (2010, 04 February). Election Profile: Swaziland. Retrieved from: http://www.electionguide.org/country. php?ID=205) 2 African Elections Database. (2013, 21 March). Elections in Swaziland. Retrieved from: http://africanelections. tripod.com/sz.html#2008_House_of_Assembly_Election 3 Index Mundi. (2011, 1 January). Population Demographics: Swaziland. Retrieved from: http://www.indexmundi. com/g/g.aspx?v=21&c=wz&l=en 4 Inter-Parliamentary Union. (2013, 21 March). Swaziland: House of Assembly. Retrieved from: http://www.ipu.org/ parline/reports/2301_E.htm 5 Ibid. 6 Peoples United Democratic Movement. (2013, 29 April). Press Statements. Retrieved from: http://pudemo.org/ index.php?option=com_weblinks&catid=25&Itemid=101 7 Peoples United Democratic Movement. (2013, 29 April). About Us. Retrieved from: http://pudemo.org/index. php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1&Itemid=2 8 Peoples United Democratic Movement. (2013, 29 April). Principles. Retrieved from: http://pudemo.org/index. php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3&Itemid=6 Inter-Parliamentary Union. (2013, 21 March). Swaziland: House of Assembly. Retrieved from: http://www.ipu.org/ parline/reports/2301_E.htm

Endnotes
Structure of the Legislative Branch Bicameral Parliament (Libandla) consisting of Senate and House of Assembly 95 total seats Senate: 30 seats; 10 members elected by the House of Assembly and 20 appointed by the Monarch to serve five-year terms

10 King of Swaziland. (2013, 29 April). King of Swaziland Mswati III. Retrieved from: http://www.kingofswaziland. com/ 11 CIA World Factbook. (2013, 29 April). Africa: Swaziland. Retrieved from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/ the-world-factbook/geos/wz.html

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