Coalition forms in Lesotho after no clear election winner

AP News
Posted: Mar 04, 2015 11:28 AM

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — With no majority winner of Lesotho's Feb. 28 election, one leader of the main opposition group tried to form a coalition on Wednesday.

Leader of the Democratic Congress, Pakalitha Mosisili, announced during a press briefing that he would be forming a coalition government with several smaller parties.

Lesotho uses a combination electoral system, in which 80 seats are decided by constituency votes and 40 seats are calculated proportionally. The new coalition came together to secure a majority without the proportional result, which is yet to be announced.

The Democratic Congress on its own won 37 constituencies, while incumbent Prime Minister Thomas Thabane's ruling All Basotho Convention won 40. Thabane's spokesman could not be reached for immediate comment.

Outside the offices of his new allies in the capital Maseru, Mosisili said that Lesotho's congress parties would form a coalition to gain the majority necessary to rule the landlocked mountain kingdom.

"The Lesotho Congress for Democracy, the Lesotho People's Congress and the Basutoland Congress Party have all agreed to be on our team," said Mosisili, adding that he was confident that the coalition would last.

The new team included former Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, and leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy, who formed a coalition with Lesotho's now former ruling party 2012.

Lesotho held an election two years early after the coalition splintered, and led to political tension and allegations of a coup.

Some of Lesotho's 1.2 million registered voters were not assured by the new coalition, saying that small parties may switch sides if they felt sidelined.

"This means they might threaten the stability of government..., which would bring us right back to elections," said Maseru resident Tsepo Monaheng.

Lesotho's political factions have split the country's military and police along party lines. The tension within the security forces came to a head when Thabane fled the country at the end of August, alleging a coup as police and the army clashed.