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Swaziland adopts new constitution

[JURIST] The House of Assembly and Senate of Swaziland [government website] have approved a new constitution [link to PDF]. King Mswati III [BBC profile] must now approve the document, which fuses centuries-old traditions and Western democratic principles. The constitution is a product of eight years of consultations and includes a detailed bill of rights including the right to life, liberty and equality before the law. It provides for freedom of expression and assembly, but bars political parties from contesting elections. The king, as head of state, will still appoint the prime minister, Cabinet members, key judges and some legislators. The constitution has come under criticism from pro-democracy groups and been rejected by the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civil Organizations [advocacy website]. AP has more.

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