PP17: Contesting and turning over power: Implications for consolidation of democracy in Lesotho

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Policy papers
Malephane, Libuseng

Since its transition to electoral democracy in 1993, Lesotho has experienced a series of upheavals related to the electoral process. Election results were vehemently contested in 1998, when the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) won all but one of the country’s constituencies under a first-past-the-post electoral system, and a military intervention by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was required to restore order.

A mixed member proportional (MMP) model introduced in the run-up to the 2002 general elections resulted in more parties being represented in Parliament. The MMP model also led to the formation of informal coalitions as political parties endeavoured to maintain or increase their seats in Parliament in the 2007 elections (Kapa, 2007). Using a two-ballot system, with one ballot for constituency and another for the proportional-representation (PR) component, the elections preserved the ruling LCD’s large majority in Parliament and precipitated another protracted dispute between the ruling and opposition parties over the allocation of PR seats.