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Lesotho Opposition Forms Coalition After Snap Election

Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Thabane casts his vote in Maseru, Feb. 28, 2015.
Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Thabane casts his vote in Maseru, Feb. 28, 2015.

Lesotho's leading opposition party has formed a coalition government, after a snap election gave no group an outright majority.

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane's All Basotho Convention finished a close second in Saturday's election with 46 seats, one seat behind the Democratic Congress.

Democratic Congress leader Pakalitha Mosisili has been declared head of a coalition that also includes the Lesotho Congress for Democracy and five smaller parties. Mothejoa Metsing, who served as deputy to the outgoing prime minister, has been named Mosisili's deputy.

Friday, in an interview with VOA, Metsing had confirmed plans for a coalition government with Mosisili at the head.

Voters in the tiny African enclave cast ballots for 80 parliamentary seats, while another 40 seats are distributed proportionally after the final tally. A majority of 61 seats was needed for an outright win.

Results were released Wednesday with 100 percent of the vote counted, although the electoral commission had not yet made an official announcement.

Saturday's election, two years earlier than scheduled, followed an attempted coup in August that forced Prime Minister Thabane to temporarily flee the country.

Thabane had presided over a tripartite coalition government - the first of its kind in the country's history. Discord within the coalition built rapidly when Thabane declared a 10-month suspension of parliament last June.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) brokered an agreement with Lesotho's coalition parties to end the suspension of parliament in order to hold the snap election.

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