Lesotho prime minister takes early lead

2015-03-01 20:20
Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Thabane just before he voted in the country's early elections. (File, AP)

Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Thabane just before he voted in the country's early elections. (File, AP)

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Maseru - The results of Lesotho's snap election following an alleged coup attempt last year trickled in slowly on Sunday, with Prime Minister Thomas Thabane taking an early lead with a quarter of the vote tallied.

Saturday's parliamentary poll, which was called two years ahead of schedule, passed without incident according to observers.

But hampered by manual counting and Lesotho's mountainous terrain, the results were slow to come in Sunday.

Fell apart

The small mountain kingdom has been in crisis since June 2014, when Thabane suspended parliament to avoid a motion that would have seen him ousted from power after his fragile coalition government fell apart.

Soldiers attacked police headquarters on 30 August, looting weapons and killing one officer.

Thabane described the violence as a coup attempt fuelled by the opposition and fled to neighbouring South Africa.

Both the military and opposition denied any bid to seize power.

Observers from both regional bloc the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union have been monitoring the election and 475 police from neighbouring countries have been deployed to keep the peace.

The army was confined to barracks during Saturday's vote.

Only 19 of the 80 constituencies up for grabs had been officially declared by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) by Sunday afternoon.

Final results

Thabane's All Basotho Convention, however, took an early lead with 16 seats.

The Democratic Congress, led by former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, held three.

Lesotho has a mixed parliamentary system. Eighty lawmakers are voted into power by their constituents, while another 40 seats are distributed proportionally after the final results to ensure all parties are represented in parliament.

A party needs 61 of the 120 seats available to rule without being forced into a coalition.

Read more on:    lesotho  |  southern africa

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