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Ramaphosa urges Lesotho parties to accept election outcome

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the African Union's declaring that elections in Lesotho were free and fair.

A Mosotho woman casts her ballot, at a polling station in Maseru, during Lesotho's general election. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the African Union's declaring that elections in Lesotho were free and fair.

Ramaphosa has urged all parties to accept the final outcome of the elections as the democratic will of the people.

His spokesperson Ronnie Moepa says the deputy president will visit Lesotho after the formation of the new government.

“We look forward to working with the new government and all role-players to help set the kingdom on the path to sustainable peace, security, constitutionality and development.”

Thabane won a national election at the weekend but failed to gain an outright majority in parliament and will now form a coalition government, the party said on Tuesday.

Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) won 48 parliamentary seats, compared with 30 won by incumbent Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s Democratic Congress (DC), according to results released on Tuesday by the Independent Electoral Commission.

The ABC will form a coalition government with the Alliance of Democrats, the Basotho National Party and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho to reach the 61-seat majority required to form a government, the parties said in a joint statement.

“The people have spoken in a loud voice and as the four parties we have accepted their mandate and promise to serve them,” the four parties said. “We’d like to announce to Basotho and the international community that together we have enough votes to form a coalition government.”

The election outcome reverses the result of an election two years ago, when Mosisili’s DC ousted Thabane and the ABC by uniting with smaller parties.

But Mosisili lost a confidence vote in parliament in March after several defections by ruling coalition lawmakers to the opposition eroded his support.

Lesotho, a nation of 2 million people, has been hit by several coups since gaining independence from Britain in 1966 and its last two elections failed to produce a winner with a clear majority.

Thabane, who governed from 2012 until 2015, and other opposition leaders fled the country to South Africa in 2015 after an assassination attempt on his life.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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