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Africa
Ruling party holds power in Lesotho
Initial results from parliamentary elections show landslide victory for LCD party.
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2007 09:13 GMT
Thabane's new party appears to have failed to take power from the ruling LCD party [AFP] 

The ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) is headed for a landslide majority as vote counts wind up after weekend parliamentary elections in the southern African country.

 

With results returned in 75 of the 80 constituencies, the LCD party of Pakalitha Mosisili, Lesotho's prime minister, had won 53 seats.

The All Basotho Convention (ABC) of Tom Thabane was in second place with 17 seats. An alliance of smaller parties had won one constituency.

 

The LCD took support from rural areas to head off a challenge from the newly formed ABC, the party seen as being most likely to remove Mosisili from office.

Opposition

 

Thabane formed his new party after walking out of cabinet in October. His ABC party has pursued a populist agenda, with promises to work on poverty and corruption.

 

The LCD has gained most of the constituency seats available, with another 40 proportional representation seats available to smaller parties to make up the country's 120-seat parliament.

 

The party won 77 seats at the last elections in 2002. However, its majority was reduced when Thabane led a group of 17 MPs to sit on the opposition benches.

 

Thabane has already voiced grievances about the electoral process, raising the possibility of a contested ballot.

 

He said some of his supporters had found their names absent from the electoral register and alleged there had been some multiple voting.

 

Vote monitored

 

Observers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) acknowledged that there had been some minor problems, but gave the vote a generally clean bill of health on Sunday.

 

John Chiligati, SADC mission chief, said: "In spite of these shortcomings, it is our opinion that the mission can ... confidently say congratulations to the people of Lesotho following the holding of credible, peaceful and transparent elections."

 

The final declaration to the parliamentary election was expected at 12pm (0900 GMT) on Tuesday, with results from the countryside lagging behind those from urban areas.

Source:
Agencies
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