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Lesotho votes for law change stripping PM of powers to dissolve parliament

The mountain kingdom held three elections between 2012 and 2017 because of a constitutional clause that gave the prime minister singular power to dissolve parliament and call elections if he lost a vote of no confidence.

FILE: Prime Minister of Lesotho Thomas Thabane. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG – Lesotho’s national assembly has voted to strip the prime minister of his power to call elections if he loses a vote of no confidence.

Although the country has a king, he is also bound to accept the unilateral decision of the prime minister.

The mountain kingdom held three elections between 2012 and 2017 because of a constitutional clause that gave the prime minister singular power to dissolve parliament and call elections if he lost a vote of no confidence.

Current Prime Minister Tom Thabane – whose party was divided – had been evading motions of no confidenc e and threatening to call elections if he lost.

Former prime minister and Lesotho Congress for Democracy’s Mothetjoa Metsing backed popular Front for Democracy leader Lekhetho Rakuoane, who proposed the amendment.

“I’m so elated, I think everybody is relieved that we are now bringing certainty to the whole idea of whether the prime minister can willy nilly just dissolve parliament – he has now to seek the consent of the House so I am really relieved.”

Ninety-three of 120 members of parliament passed the amendment, surpassing the required two-thirds majority of 80 seats.

It’s now up to the Senate, whose membership consists mainly of traditional leaders to agree or disagree with the national assembly.