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This chapter provides a brief historical background and a description of major events in Swaziland. It also provides basic political, economic, and social data arranged in the following categories: polity, economy, population, purchasing power parities, life expectancy, ethnic groups, capital, political rights, civil liberties, and status. The chapter discusses the progress and decline of political rights and civil liberties in Swaziland. Swazis are barred from exercising their right to elect their Slid representatives or to change their government freely. All of Swaziland's citizens are subjects of an absolute monarch, King Mswati III. Royal decrees carry the full force of law. In 1968, Swaziland regained its independence, and an elected parliament was added to the traditional kingship and chieftaincies. Sobhuza II, Mswati's predecessor, who died in 1983, ended the multiparty system in favor of the tinkhundla system in 1973. The Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions, the country's largest labor organization, has been a leader in demands for democratization.