LESOTHO
Parliamentary Chamber: National Assembly

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2002

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Chamber:
  National Assembly


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  25 May 2002


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all members of the National Assembly for the first time since the disputed poll of 1998 that forced a military intervention by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the establishment of an Interim Political Authority (IPA) with representatives from all 12 parties contesting the election.


Background and outcome of elections:

  In February 2002, the King announced that the final date for legislative elections would be 25 May 2002. The elections, postponed on a number of occasions, aimed at closing a violent political chapter, which had erupted following the 1998 elections. The results of those elections, that had given 79 seats (out of 80) to the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy, had been challenged by the opposition. The country experienced months of instability following the poll, which culminated in military intervention by troops from South Africa and Botswana.

The Interim Political Authority (IPA) was established after the military intervention and, although originally meant to exist for up to 18 months (by which time another election was to be held), became something of a parallel Parliament four years on, as most political parties were represented within the IPA. The IPA was dissolved the day after the announcement of the official results of the 2002 elections.

As the electoral system for the 1998 poll, the first-past-the-post system, was seen as the cause of the crisis, it was changed before the elections. A new Electoral Law, adopted in November 2001 introduced a mixed system, under which 80 MPs are elected under a first-past-the post system and 40 members on the basis of proportional representation. For these elections, all of the parties had signed an Electoral Code of Conduct committing themselves to respecting the results.

The electoral campaign was full of controversy, primarily concerning the question of indemnity from prosecution for those involved in the 1998 violence, among whom were candidates for the 2002 elections. The IPA had asked the government to consider announcing a general amnesty.

Nineteen parties contested the elections, that were monitored by international missions from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Japan, the European Union and the United States. All of the international observers issued statements declaring that the elections had been free, fair and transparent. However, the observers noted that voting operations had been delayed in certain areas where voters had had to queue for many hours at polling stations.

Turnout was high, with more than 70% of the 831,315 registered voters casting ballots, according to the Lesotho Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

According to the official results, the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy won 54 per cent of the vote, while the Basotho National Party polled 21 per cent, and the Lesotho People's Congress 7 per cent.

On 4 June 2002, Mr Pakalitha Mosisili was sworn in as Prime Minister for his second term of office.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (25 May 2002): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 831 315
Valid votes 554 386

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) 304 316 54.89
Basotho National Party (BNP) 124 234 22.41
Lesotho People's Congress 32 046 5.78
National Independent Party (NIP) 30 346 5.47
Basutoland Congress Party 16 095 2.90
Basutoland African Congress 14 584 2.63
Others n.a. n.a.

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) 77
Basotho National Party (BNP) 21
Lesotho People's Congress 5
National Independent Party (NIP) 5
Basutoland Congress Party 3
Basutoland African Congress 3
Others 6

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 106
Women: 16
Percent of women: 11.67


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Copyright 2002 Inter-Parliamentary Union