Lesotho’s opposition parties say they have formed a coalition government after Sunday’s inconclusive election. The leader of the All Basotho Convention, Tom Thabane told the BBC that he had reached an agreement with the Lesotho Congress for Democracy and two smaller parties. ”We are going to have a vast majority in parliament,” Mr Thabane said. Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili failed to win an absolute majority in the weekend parliamentary election.
Articles about voting issues in the Kingdom of Lesotho.
The party of the longtime prime minister won Lesotho’s parliamentary elections, according to complete results posted Tuesday on the website of the southern African country’s Independent Electoral Commission. Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s Democratic Congress won 41 of 80 seats, the simple majority needed to form a government, though it may need to form a coalition to consolidate power. The All Basotho Convention, the main opposition, had 26 seats. Shortly before Saturday’s vote in this nation of 2 million, Mosisili broke away from the Lesotho Congress for Democracy, which had been riven by an internal power struggle. The Lesotho Congress for Democracy had 12 seats while another opposition party had one according to the final results.
Hundreds of rival supporters packed out Maseru’s Manthabiseng Convention Centre on Monday, waiting (mostly) patiently to hear the final results of Lesotho’s general elections held on Saturday. Their waiting was in vain, however; official results will only be announced on Tuesday morning at the earliest, and that is only if the bad weather clears up and the helicopters are able to land in remote areas to collect the ballots. However, the result of the election is an open secret amongst party leaders and officials from Lesotho’s independent electoral commission, who told the Daily Maverick that Prime Minister Mosisili had edged his main opponent, Thomas Thabane, by just one constituency seat. This is based on the vote counts conducted in each constituency, which have yet to be verified or announced, but are unlikely to change.
Voters in the highland African kingdom of Lesotho went to the polls on Saturday in a wide-open election that analysts say could end without a clear result, as happened in 1998 when South Africa had to send in troops to quell unrest. The capital Maseru was quiet, with shops closed, as voters queued up on a crisp and clear southern hemisphere winter morning. Campaigning has been peaceful but a lack of opinion polls, and Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s decision to quit the ruling party and go it alone under the banner of the new Democratic Congress (DC) party, have kept the landlocked nation’s two million people on tenterhooks. ”I decided to go to the polls because I want changes. We are tired of this government, we need changes,” said Mohato Bereng, a local chief, planning to vote for the Lesotho Congress for Democracy.
Lesotho – the tiny mountain kingdom surrounded by South Africa, with the best (ok, only) skiing in Africa, and one of the world’s highest HIV infection rates – is getting recognition for something else: carrying out a peaceful election with a likely transfer of power. After elections held this week, a majority of Basotho voters turned against the 14-year rule of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, expressing frustration with empty promises. With no party enjoying a convincing majority, five opposition parties this week cobbled together Lesotho’s first-ever coalition government and claim at least 61 seats of the 120-member parliament – with an ex-foreign minister, Tom Thabane, tabbed as the new premier. With its straightforward process and absence of violence thus far, Lesotho gives a lesson in democracy that many other African countries — such as Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Cote D’Ivoire, Kenya, and even nearby Madagascar, Zimbabwe, and South Africa could learn to emulate, political observers say.
Tiny Lesotho votes on Saturday in the most hotly contested election since Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili came to power in a 1998 vote that sparked rioting and a South African military intervention. After 14 years in power, Mosisili has established himself as a towering figure in this mountainous kingdom, bordered on all sides by South Africa, the regional powerhouse that dominates the enclave’s economy. He’s stayed in power through elections consistently endorsed by observers, even though Lesotho’s political disputes sometimes erupt in violence. Mosisili survived a 2009 military-style assault on his official residence that left four people dead. Eight people are standing trial, and the precise motives remain unclear. But signs of discontent with his rule are everywhere.
Lesotho: Keep calm and carry on voting – Lesotho’s elections look unusually competitive. That could spell trouble | The Economist
With barely a week to go before parliamentary elections in Lesotho on May 26th, there is no sign in the bustling capital of Maseru of the usual campaign paraphernalia: no posters, no cars emblazoned with party colours, no loudspeakers blaring political slogans, nothing to suggest that this mountain kingdom, surrounded by South Africa, was in the throes of its most hotly contested poll since independence from Britain nearly 50 years ago. This does not mean the Basotho, Lesotho’s 2m inhabitants, are unengaged. But the radio and party rallies are their preferred method of campaigning. Any of the country’s three main parties could win. The closeness of the race has people worried. Elections in Lesotho are generally deemed fair, but they have often been followed by violence. In 1998 Pakalitha Mosisili, leader of the newly elected Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), had to ask the Southern African Development Community, a 15-member regional club which includes Lesotho, to send in troops to end months of rioting, looting, burning and killing. Many fear that could happen again.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in Maseru will start distributing ballot papers starting on Wednesday in preparation for the Advanced voting on Saturday. This has been confirmed by the District Electoral Officer (DEO) in Maseru, Mr. Motlohi Sekoala in an interview on Tuesday. Mr. Sekoala said the ballot papers will be distributed under heavy police guard to ensure maximum safety during the exercise. He said there are about 970 advanced voters in 18 Maseru constituencies who are expected to cast their votes after applying as advanced electors.
Lesotho: Former Malawian President Bakili Muluzi to Lead Commonwealth Observers to Lesotho Elections | allAfrica.com
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma announced on 14 May 2012 that former Malawian President Dr Bakili Muluzi will lead the Commonwealth Observer Group to the Lesotho Parliamentary Elections, to be held on 26 May 2012. Mr Sharma said he was delighted that Dr Muluzi had accepted the invitation to lead the Group. ”I am grateful to President Muluzi and other members of the Group for accepting to serve on this important undertaking. The Commonwealth attaches great importance to conducting credible elections as a means of strengthening democracy and giving citizens the opportunity to choose their leaders,” he said. ”Lesotho is a valued member of the Commonwealth family, and we are delighted at having been invited to observe these elections. Credible and peaceful elections are a litmus test of how healthily the democratic culture in a country is taking root,” he added.
The King of Lesotho has set 26 May as the date for eagerly awaited general elections following a successful dialogue that ended the deadlock among the main political players. Agreement was reached one year ago after lengthy negotiations mediated by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) aimed at finding a lasting solution to the political challenges in the country. ”King Letsie III, in accordance with section 37 (1) of the 2011 National Assembly Election Act, and acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State, proclaims that May 26 will be Election Day,” said a statement released by Prime Minister Mosisili Pakalitha in March. King Letsie III dissolved the Lesotho Parliament on 15 March to pave way for campaigning by the country’s 10 political parties. Post-electoral dissatisfaction emerged in Lesotho after the 2007 elections as the opposition party refused to accept the results, plunging the country into a crisis.