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.
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.
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.