Lesotho opposition parties in coalition govt talks

2015-03-05 21:05
Pakalitha Mosisili. (File: AFP)

Pakalitha Mosisili. (File: AFP)

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Johannesburg - Lesotho opposition parties were on Thursday negotiating the formation of a coalition government, with 1998-2012 prime minister Pakalitha Mosisili set to return to power, an official said.

The creation of a broad-based government comprising seven parties was expected to stabilise the southern African mountain kingdom, where Saturday's elections had been moved forward by two years after the army was accused of attempting a coup, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Prime Minister Tom Thabane's All Basotho Convention (ABC) took the most votes in half of the 80 constituencies, while Mosisili's Democratic Congress (DC) won 37 constituencies.

But the result changed slightly when 40 more seats were allocated on a proportional basis in the 120-member parliament, giving the DC a majority of one seat.

New government

The DC will join forces with the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), which had formed part of Thabane's three-party coalition.

LCD leader Mothetjoa Metsing served as Thabane's deputy. The relations between the two deteriorated in June 2014, allegedly because Thabane's anti-corruption campaign threatened to implicate Metsing.

Metsing will now become Mosisili's deputy, while the other ministerial portfolios are still being allocated, the source said.

Thabane will head the opposition. The new government is expected to be sworn in within two weeks.

Soldiers surrounded Thabane's residence and police headquarters on 30 August, saying they wanted to disarm rogue elements within the police force. One police officer was killed. Metsing denied involvement in a coup attempt.

Lesotho, which is landlocked by South Africa, bases a large part of its economy on water sales to its neighbour from a joint water project.

Read more on:    pakalitha mosisili  |  tom thabane  |  lesotho  |  lesotho elections 2015  |  southern africa

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