On 26 July 2005, King Mswati III signed the new Constitution, adopted by the Parliament, which shall try to insert traditions into the principles of democracy. He proclaimed it would come into force on 8 February 2006. General elections will then be held. The Parliament, as well as the Government shall still stand during the transition period, intended to allow the compliance of the institutions with the new Constitution. The former Constitution had been abolished on 12 April 1973 and the political parties were banned (though tolerated). Since then, the country has been ruled through royal decrees. The new Constitution of this absolute monarchy shall grant more rights to the citizens, consolidate the power of the King, maintain a bicameral Parliament and uphold the interdiction of political parties.
I - COMPOSITION
30 senators of whom:
. 10 elected senators,
. 20 appointed by the Head of State (there must be at least 8 women).
II - ELECTORAL SYSTEM
Method of voting : indirect election by the Assembly, by majority of members present and voting.
Term of office : 5 years.
Most recent election : 10 October 2008, 17 October 2008.
Criteria for eligibility : 18 years of age, a Swaziland citizen, legal residence in the country.
Criteria for ineligibility : allegiance to a foreign State, undischarged bankruptcy, death sentence, prison sentence of over 6 months.
Criteria for incompatibility : public service, any electoral function, government contract, armed forces.