15 May 2017

Lesotho: Elections - Maturing Democracy or a Failure of Institutions?

analysis

When Tom Thabane and the All Basotho Convention (ABC) took power after the 2012 elections, it marked the first peaceful transfer of power in Lesotho's relatively brief history. It also marked the country's first instance of coalition government. Many southern African political commentators, including this author, found reason for optimism in 2012 with the dawning of the coalition era in Lesotho's politics, but was this optimism misplaced? By JOHN AERNI-FLESSNER.

June 3, 2017 will mark the third time in five years that Lesotho has held a general election. The election comes on the heels of Democratic Congress (DC) Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili losing a no-confidence motion in March in Parliament. His unwieldy seven-party coalition degenerated into infighting less than two years after taking office. This is the second coalition failure in three years. In 2014, All-Basotho Convention (ABC) Prime Minister Tom Thabane's five-party coalition crumbled only two years after taking office.

The rapid disintegration of two successive coalition governments and continued political violence at the highest levels of politics and security have tarnished the hope seen at the time. With coalitions seeming unstable in Lesotho, is there any hope that the continuation of the "coalition era" after the 2017 elections...

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