LESOTHO
Parliamentary Chamber: National Assembly

ELECTIONS HELD IN 1998

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Chamber:
  National Assembly


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  23 May 1998


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all seats in the National Assembly on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  Since the previous (March 1993) general elections, Lesotho politics was rocked by several military revolts and a "royal" coup d’Etat by King Letsie III. In June 1997, the ruling Basotho Congress Party (BCP) split in two, with Prime Minister Ntsu Mokhehle leading the bulk of the party’s members to form the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), which governed since that time.

To clear the way for polling, Parliament was dissolved on 27 February 1998 and the election date was set. Altogether 12 parties and 30 independent candidates were in the running for the expanded National Assembly’s 80 seats (up from 65). The primary challengers to the LCD were the BCP, headed by Mr. Molapo Qhobela, and the Basotho National Party (BNP), led by Mr. Evaristus Sekhonyana. Prior to polling, Mr. Mokhehle yielded his place as LCD party leader to Deputy Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, and announced his intention to retire from politics after years of service.

The three main parties campaigned on the promise of more jobs and a fight against poverty. But local personalities and traditional loyalties proved as important in voters' eyes. When final results gave an overwhelming victory to the LCD, the opposition forces promptly accused it of fraudulent practices and petitioned the Independent Electoral Commission to hold fresh voting. Foreign observers, however, declared the elections acceptable by international standards.

On 28 May, Mr. Mosisili was elected Prime Minister. The new Cabinet was announced on 3 June.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (23 May 1998): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 860,000 (approx.)
Voters 71.83%

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group %
Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) 60.72
Basotho National Party (BNP) 24.47
Others 14.81

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) 79
Basotho National Party (BNP) 1
Others 0

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 77
Women: 3


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Copyright 1998 Inter-Parliamentary Union