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Will Tom Thabane be out of office before July?

Lesotho's national assembly has voted to amend a provision of the constitution that gives the prime minister singular power to call elections if he loses a vote of no confidence.

FILE: Tom Thabane. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane's exit might come sooner after the national assembly stripped him of powers to dissolve parliament.

The country's national assembly has voted to amend a provision of the constitution that gives the prime minister singular power to call elections if he loses a vote of no confidence.

The upper house of parliament, the senate, still has to pass the amendment – but its sponsors believe it has removed the threat that Thabane was using to remain in office.

The Prime Minister said he would retire by the end of July, and his supporters threatened that if he is forced out before then with a vote of no confidence they will advise him to dissolve parliament and call fresh elections.

But, now that the national assembly has stripped him of that power, the leader of the opposition party; the Popular Front for Democracy Lekhetho Rakuoane; said removing Thabane might be easier.

“What I don't know especially in his party is the configuration in terms of forces on his party and also the impact we have on other coalition partners which I think have been shaken by this event.”

Rakuoane said the only provision that will be available to Thabane once the amendment is passed by the senate will be a temporary suspension of parliament, but even that has now been cut down from 12 months to 2 months.”