An absolute monarchy in Africa holds parliamentary election

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The southern African kingdom of Eswatini is holding an election largely free of suspense.

That’s because people are voting for parliamentarians on Friday under the authority of King Mswati III, an absolute monarch in the country formerly known as Swaziland. He appoints the Cabinet and has long been accused of suppressing human rights while enjoying a lavish lifestyle at the expense of an impoverished population.

Political parties are barred from participating in the vote. Amnesty International says Eswatini should lift restrictions on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Activists have also criticized forced evictions reportedly meant to make way for development projects.

The king, in power for more than three decades, has previously accused critics of spreading negative information. He changed the name of the landlocked country earlier this year.

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