North Korea gets a lot of crap about dynastically successive leaders (Singapore does not get this shit), but there are some other really rather silly Monarchies that still exist, like for real, no pretending.
Here’s our Weird World Wire guide to some of the freaky deeky dictatorial monarchies of the world.
Ready to get weird? Malaysia is a federation, the only proper one in Asia – apparently. Nine of these federative states have hereditary rulers, and four do not.
Every five years one of them gets voted The Yang di-Pertuan Agong (literally ‘He Who is Made Lord’, Jawi: يڠ دڤرتوان اݢوڠ), also known as the Supreme Head or the King, by the nine monarchies, not the four who are not. Are you following so far? Technically it is an elective monarchy, except it is the nine rulers who elect the monarch, and in reality, they simply take it in turns. As pointless monarchies go, it is pretty good.
6) Holy See/Vatican City
Remember the movie “The Two Popes”? Yeah, me neither. Another “county” that is considered an elective monarchy in that a bunch of nonces vote for a Pope, he rules the church (Holy See) and the Vatican City state until he dies. After that, a new pope is then voted in.
Alas not being a democracy means they cannot be full members of the European Union. Fun fact, the Vatican has the highest crime rate per capita in the world. Probably the highest rate of pedophiles as well to be fair.
Tonga is the only true Kingdom left in the Pacific. Tonga is technically a constitutional monarchy, but the King and his extended family live in absolute wealth, whilst the others really do not. It is illegal to say nasty things about the King too!
Much of the modern history of Tonga has involved the population protesting about the King of Tonga, and it frequently goes back and forth as a de-factor absolute monarchy.
Bhutan was an absolute monarchy until the Maoists other threw the King in Nepal, and they decided to change to a constitutional monarchy. To keep things as condescending as possible, they held a mock election where people could vote for four different colors.
Oh, they also took away the citizenship of the Nepalese minority and dealt with a Maoist insurgency. They measure Gross Domestic Happiness but are ironically not that happy.
You may remember Thailand from our list of dictatorships you have not heard of, but they do this through the guise of a constitutional monarchy. Thailand has some of the strictest lèse majesté laws in the world. Lèse majesté basically means it is illegal to “diss da king.” The law has amusingly been used to imprison someone who slagged off the King’s dog.
The current King is famously a playboy and not all that popular. That being said, if you want to protest or lead a military coup, you still need to wear yellow. Keep that in mind.
The King of Swaziland is a bit of a dick in the true absolute monarchy that is now called Eswatini. Whether the country was renamed to sound a bit more internet like no one knows, but we do know that virgins are supposed to dance naked in front of him every year, with their tits out so he can pick more brides. He was like 50 or something wives (we could not be bothered to check).
And the backdrop to this is not only is he really rich but the artist formerly known as Swaziland is not only really poor but has a huge AIDS rate.
1) The Middle East
Where to start on this bundle of laughs? Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and the UAE are all absolute monarchies. Big differences being that Saudi does stuff like let women drive now, Oman bans homosexuality but (allegedly) had a gay ruler, the UAE simply share around government posts, and the twats in Qatar get given the fucking world cup.
So, the next time the press are blah blahing about North Korea or complaining about the human rights record in Nicaragua, remember these glorious Kingdoms, Emirates, Sultanates and Papacies!