Saturday 21 April 2018

Lesotho to vote on June 3 after govt falls

Lesotho to vote on June 3 after govt falls
(AFP (eng) 03/13/17)
Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili

Lesotho will hold elections on June 3, officials announced Monday, the landlocked kingdom's second snap poll in three years as political instability deepens.

The electoral commission announcement comes after a vote of no confidence sank prime minister Pakalitha Mosisili's government on March 1.

Mosisili, who first ruled the country from 1998 to 2012, advised King Letsie III to dissolve parliament and call elections.

Completely landlocked by South Africa, Lesotho is one of the world's poorest countries and its economy is heavily dependent on its neighbour, to where it exports water and hydroelectric power.

South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have repeatedly called for political reform in the country.

"The prime minister informs the nation that His Majesty has announced June 3 as election day," said a statement issued by the prime minister's office.

"His Majesty has instructed the director of elections to make all arrangements which will facilitate the smooth running of elections."

Election commission director Letholeng Ntsiki said $19 million (18 million euros) has been requested to fund the polls.

Lesotho last held a snap election in February 2015, following a failed coup attempt in 2014 against the then prime minister Thomas Thabane.

In the vote, Thabane lost power to Mosisili, who led a fragile coalition government.

A few months after he relinquished power to Mosisili, Thabane fled the country along with two other opposition leaders, claiming that their lives were in danger.

Thabane and the two opposition leaders returned last month to join forces with Monyane Moleleki of the Alliance of Democrats (AD) to challenge Mosisili's government at the ballot box.

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