The final results of Lesotho's general elections have revealed no outright winner as the ruling party narrowly edged out its nearest rivals, data on the website of the country's electoral commission showed.
Incumbent prime minister Thomas Thabane's All Basotho Congress (ABC) party won 40 constituencies in the weekend poll, just three more than the Democratic Congress (DC), as the close race tested the durability of a South Africa-brokered truce following an attempted coup by the army last August.
The DC's 37 seats, along with the remaining three won by the opposition, versus the ABC's total, are not enough for either party to meet the 60 plus one requirement for forming an independent government in the southern African nation.
Al Jazeera's Erica Wood, reporting from the capital Maseru, said: "We have the MMP [Mixed Member Proportional] system here.
"We do not know how this is going to play out. What is happening now is that the [major] parties are discussing with the smaller parties as to how a coalition will work out."
The snap poll on Saturday was brought forward by nearly two years after Thabane briefly fled to South Africa in August when soldiers occupied police headquarters and encircled his palace.
Thabane accused his deputy Mothetjoa Metsing, a member of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party, who two constituencies at the weekend, of working with the army to oust him, an allegation Metsing and the military dismissed.
The attempted coup triggered concerns of political violence, leading to a Southern African Development Community (SADC) intervention headed by South Africa's deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa.
The SADC, a regional bloc, brings together 15 member nations.
Apart from textile exports and a slice of regional customs receipts, the state of two million people's other main earner is water piped to South Africa, making it of strategic importance to Pretoria.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies