Swazi elections ”not credible”, says Commonwealth
October 25, 2013 1 Comment
“Parliamentarians continue to have severely limited powers, and political parties continue to remain proscribed … there is considerable room for improving the democratic system, in light of Swaziland’s international obligations. We therefore cannot conclude that the entire process was credible,” the Commonwealth Observer Mission, chaired by former Malawian President Bakili Muluzi, stated in a report on Swaziland’s recently held elections on Sunday.
The political system in Swaziland, although including periodic elections, cannot be said to be democratic in any meaningful sense of the word. Swaziland’s absolute monarch, King Mswati III, himself appoints the government, most of the senate, and several members of the parliament, the rest of which he has to approve, and he can veto any law he doesn’t like.
According to Swaziland’s democratic movement the turnout for the elections was very low, although Swaziland’s government has yet to release the figures. “We have given the office all regional figures, that indicate that 80,000 [out of a potential of approximately 600,000 eligible voters] actually voted,” the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) said in a recent statement.
The Commonwealth met with several of the organisations of the democratic movement, including Swaziland’s largest political party, the proscribed People’s United Democratic Movement, and on the basis of these talks concluded that “the current political system in Swaziland is unsustainable” and that “enabling legislation [should] be put in place to allow for political parties.”