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Lesotho Prime Minister to Pave Way for New Administration

Mothetjoa Metsing, leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy, gestures after speaking to Reuters in the capital, Maseru, Feb. 26, 2015.
Mothetjoa Metsing, leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy, gestures after speaking to Reuters in the capital, Maseru, Feb. 26, 2015.

A senior official of Lesotho’s coalition government said Prime Minister Thomas Thabane is expected to resign within the next 14 days to clear the way for the formation of a new administration with a majority in the country’s parliament.

Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation Minister Thesele 'Maseribane said Thabane’s government would now be in the opposition after former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili led his Democratic Congress party to form a coalition with other parties after the February 28 election.

“They have produced a number of 65. BNP [Basotho National Party] and ABC [All Basotho Convention] and a breakaway party, we have only 55 in our coalition. So they have declared themselves as the majority in parliament and we are in opposition,” said 'Maseribane.

The constitution stipulates that the prime minister calls for the election of a new speaker of parliament as part of a transitional process ahead of the formation of a new administration.

The constitution also demands that a government be formed within the next 14 days after the Independent Electoral Commission announces the outcome of an election.

“The prime minister would have to resign, but before doing that he needs to have a one-to-one meeting with His Majesty, but that has to be gazetted and after a gazette has been created, he needs to resign. But he needs to advise the speaker to convene parliament and there should be an election of a new speaker in parliament. After that there should also be an election of a prime minister. Those who have majority will vote for a new prime minister,” said 'Maseribane.

Sharp disagreements in Thabane’s coalition government led to an attempt to overthrow the administration. Analysts say the lack of a constitutional provision for a coalition government made it difficult to resolve the disagreements.

'Maseribane, who won a seat in parliament, said he would support reforms to amend the constitution to help resolve future disagreements in a coalition administration.

“We are bound to live with coalition in Lesotho. Even to go further, we can call it government of national unity,” said 'Maseribane. “Yes, I would support those kinds of reforms for the sake of the country, for the country to be stable when there is a coalition.”

Basotho — as citizens are called — have expressed concern that divisions between the police and the country’s army threaten the country’s stability.

'Maseribane said there is a need for the incoming administration to resolve the tension.

“It’s very unfortunate that the leader of the LDC [Lesotho Congress for Democracy], who is supposed to be the deputy prime minister, was already talking about reinstating of the dismissed commander of the LDF [Lesotho Defense Force], and that really would lead to an instability. So we are not quite sure how the new government is going to handle those kinds of issues,” said 'Maseribane.

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