Lesotho premier steps down after falling short of majority | News | DW | 30.05.2012
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Lesotho premier steps down after falling short of majority

The prime minister of Lesotho has stood down after his party fell way short of a majority in parliament. The mountain kingdom now looks set to be governed by its first-ever coalition.

Premier Pakalitha Mosisili's resignation after 14 years was announced in the wake of a disappointing election showing in which his Democratic Congress (DC) party won 48 seats in the 120-strong assembly.

"The prime minister has just resigned," government secretary Tlohang Sekhamane told journalists, before himself giving up his post.

Opposition parties had met late on Tuesday to form a coalition that would block the ruling party from power.

The leader of the main opposition party, the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Tom Thabane, said at least five parties would work together. The arrangement would give them a majority of 64 seats in parliament.

Anti-poverty platform

Thabane, a former foreign minister, founded the ABC in 2006, promising to fight hunger, poverty, disease, crime and corruption. The party performed strongly in the cities in the election and will send 30 members to the new parliament, according to the state's Independent Electoral Commission.

Under the coalition deal, the Lesotho Congress for Democracy, the former party of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, will contribute its 26 seats. The smaller Basotho National Party, the Popular Fund for Democracy and the Marematlou Freedom Party will also join up.

If formed, the coalition would be the first in the country, a mountain kingdom landlocked by South Africa, since it gained independence from Britain in 1966.

Under the constitutional monarchy's mixed election system, voters elect lawmakers to represent 80 constituencies. Another 40 seats in parliament are awarded under a proportional voting system.

rc/ncy (AFP, dpa)