[QODLink]
Africa
Lesotho opposition takes early election lead
Preliminary results show opposition All Basotho Convention narrowly winning the first eight constituencies announced.
Last Modified: 27 May 2012 14:20
The people of Lesotho went to the polls to elect a new national assembly on May 26 [AFP]

The opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) has taken an early lead in Lesotho's fiercely fought general elections, winning the first eight constituencies that have been announced.

All the constituencies were in urban areas, the base of support for the ABC and its leader Tom Thabane.

The early returns on Sunday showed a close contest, however, with ABC taking a majority in only one district, indicating that Lesotho could be headed toward its first coalition government.

"Currently most of the urban areas have been counted, which is a good indicator," Maliako Ralejoe, an official with the Independent Electoral Commission, told the AFP news agency.

"We have had challenges with the rural areas as some areas are still counting, but Maseru is complete. We estimate that Tuesday we will be able to announce the final verdict," she said.

Possible kingmaker

Lesotho voted on Saturday in a close three-way race, following a series of splits in the ruling party.

Vote counting began immediately after polls closed, but tallying the results from remote mountain communities poses a logistical challenge in this largely rural nation.

Pakalitha Mosisili, the prime minister since 1998, is asking voters to give him another term in office at the helm of his new Democratic Congress.

His main rival is Mothejoa Metsing, the new leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy, the party that Mosisili abandoned in February.

Both parties have most of their support in rural Lesotho, where three-quarters of Lesotho citizens live.

Thabane is hoping to benefit from the split in the ruling party and could emerge as a kingmaker if no party takes a majority.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
The group's takeover of farms in Qaraqosh, 30km from Mosul, has caused fear among residents, and a jump in food prices.
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
join our mailing list