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AFRICAN ELECTIONS DATABASE

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Elections in Lesotho
 
Political Profile
Political System: Democracy
King: Letsie III [since 7 February 1996; Formerly occupied the throne from 12 November 1990 to 25 February 1995, while his father was in exile]
Prime Minister: Tom Thabane (ABC) [since 8 June 2012] Following elections, the leader of the majority party in the National Assembly automatically becomes Prime Minister.
Parliament [bicameral]
--Senate (33 Seats) 22 members are hereditary Principal chiefs and 11 members are appointed by the King.
--National Assembly (120 Seats) Members are elected by direct popular vote using the mixed member proportional system - 80 in single-member constituencies using the first-past-the-post system and 40 from one national constituency using party-list proportional representation; members serve 5-year terms.
Electoral Authority: Independent Electoral Commission
Political Situation since Independence
1966-1970 Democracy
1970-1986 Restricted Democratic Practice
1986-1993 Military Regime
1993-1998 Democracy
1998-2002 Emerging Democracy
2002-        Democracy
2012 Freedom House Rating: Political Rights - 3, Civil Liberties - 3, Status: Partly Free
Next Scheduled National Assembly Election: 2017
Political Parties: ABC - All Basotho Convention, ACFD - Areka Covenant Front for Development, ADC - All Democratic Corporation, AUM - Africa Unity Movement, BAC - Basutoland African Congress, BBDP - Basotho Batho Democratic Party, BCP - Basutoland Congress Party/Basotho Congress Party, BDNP - Basotho Democratic National Party, BNP - Basutoland National Party/Basotho National Party, BPA - Basutoland Progressive Association, CDP - Christian Democratic Party, DC - Democratic Congress, HBP - Hareeng Basotho Party, KBP - Kopanang Basotho Party, LCD - Lesotho Congress for Democracy, LEP - Lesotho Education Party, LLP - Lesotho Labour Party, LMM - Lekhotla La Mekhoa le Moetlo, LPC - Lesotho People's Congress, LPL - Liberal Party of Lesotho, LWP - Lesotho Workers' Party, MFP - Marematlou Freedom Party, MTP - Marema Tlou Party, NIP - National Independent Party, NLFP - New Lesotho Freedom Party, NPP - National Progressive Party, PFD - Popular Front For Democracy, SDP - Social Democratic Party, SDU - Sefate Democratic Union, SSD - Sankatana Social Democratic Party, UDP - United Democratic Party, UP - United Party, WHP - White Horse Party.
Coalitions: Alliance of Congress Parties (ACP) [Contested the 2007 National Assembly Election] Member parties include the Basotho Congress Party (BCP), Basutoland African Congress (BAC), and Lesotho People's Congress (LPC).
 

Election Results
 
 
Legislative: 1960 (Indirect), 1965, 1970, 1985, 1993, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2012
 
 
1960 Basutoland National Council Election*

Registered Voters

191,663

Total Votes (Voter Turnout)

Not Available (N/A)

Invalid/Blank Votes

Not Available

Total Valid Votes

  35,302

Party Number of Votes % of Votes District Council Seats (162) National Council Seats (40)**
Basutoland Congress Party (BCP) 12,787 36.22% 73 30
Basutoland National Party (BNP) 7,002 19.83% 22 1
Marema Tlou Party (MTP) 2,812 7.97% 16 5
Basutoland Progressive Association (BPA) 231 0.65% - -
Independents 12,470 35.32% 51 4
*Direct District Council elections were held on 20 January 1960. The number of votes and percentage figures in the table above are based on district council election results. Acting as an electoral college, the district council members elected 40 members to the Basutoland National Council.
**An additional 40 members were appointed - 14 nominated by the paramount chief Constantine Bereng Seeiso [Moshoeshoe II], 22 principal and ward chiefs, and four senior government officials. 
 
29 April 1965 National Assembly Election

Registered Voters

416,952

Total Votes (Voter Turnout)

Not Available (N/A)

Invalid/Blank Votes

Not Available

Total Valid Votes

259,825

Party Number of Votes % of Votes Number of Seats (60)
Basutoland National Party (BNP) 108,162 41.63% 35
Basutoland Congress Party (BCP) 103,050 39.66% 21
Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP) 42,837 16.49% 4
Marema Tlou Party (MTP) 5,697 2.19% -
Independents 79 0.03% -
 
27-28 January 1970 National Assembly Election*

Registered Voters

Not Available

Total Votes (Voter Turnout)

Not Available (N/A)

Invalid/Blank Votes

Not Available

Total Valid Votes

306,529

Party Number of Votes % of Votes Number of Seats (60)
Basutoland Congress Party (BCP) 152,907 49.88% 36
Basotho National Party (BNP) 129,434 42.23% 23
Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP) 22,279 7.27% 1
Others 1,909 0.62% -
*The 1970 election was annulled soon after the results were announced by Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan, who claimed that the election had been marred by violence and disturbances by the South African security forces.
 
17-18 September 1985 National Assembly Election

Registered Voters

Not Available

Total Votes (Voter Turnout)

Not Available (N/A)

In July 1985, the government announced that National Assembly elections would take place in September. Opposition parties, claiming that they had been denied access to the voters' roll, decided to boycott the election. At the time of nomination in August 1985, only the ruling Basotho National Party (BNP) fielded candidates, who were declared elected unopposed without an election being held.
 
27 March 1993 National Assembly Election

Registered Voters

736,930

Total Votes (Voter Turnout)

Not Available (N/A)

Invalid/Blank Votes

Not Available

Total Valid Votes

532,678

Party Number of Votes % of Votes Number of Seats (65)

Basutoland Congress Party (BCP)

398,355 74.78% 65
Basotho National Party (BNP) 120,686 22.66% -
Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP) 7,650 1.44% -
Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) 947 0.18% -
Hareeng Basotho Party (HBP) 646 0.12% -
United Democratic Party (UDP) 582 0.11% -
Kopanang Basotho Party (KBP) 417 0.08% -
Lesotho Labour Party (LLP) 244 0.05% -
National Independent Party (NIP) 241 0.05% -
Lesotho Education Party (LEP) 63 0.01% -
United Party (UP) 51 0.01% -
Liberal Party of Lesotho (LPL) 43 0.01% -
Independents 2,753 0.52% -
 
23 May 1998 National Assembly Election

Registered Voters

Not Available

Total Votes (Voter Turnout)

Not Available (N/A)

Invalid/Blank Votes

Not Available

Total Valid Votes

584,740

Party Number of Votes % of Votes Number of Seats (80)
Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) 355,049 60.72% 78
Basotho National Party (BNP) 143,073 24.47% 1

Basutoland Congress Party (BCP)

61,793 10.57% -
Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP) 7,460 1.28% -
Others 17,365 2.97% -
Vacant* - - 1
*The vacant seat (Moyeni constituency) was won by the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) in a by-election held on 1 August 1998, raising its total to 79.
 
25 May 2002 National Assembly Election

Registered Voters

831,515

Total Votes (Voter Turnout)

Not Available (N/A)

Invalid/Blank Votes

Not Available

Total Valid Votes

554,386

Party Number of Votes % of Votes Number of Seats 80 (120)*
Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) 304,316 54.89% 77 (77)
Basotho National Party (BNP) 124,234 22.41%   - (21)
Lesotho People's Congress (LPC) 32,046 5.78% 1 (5)
National Independent Party (NIP) 30,346 5.47% - (5)
Basutoland African Congress (BAC) 16,095 2.90% - (3)

Basutoland Congress Party (BCP)

14,584 2.63% - (3)
Lesotho Workers' Party (LWP) 7,788 1.40% - (1)
Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP) 6,890 1.24% - (1)
Popular Front For Democracy (PFD) 6,330 1.14% - (1)
National Progressive Party (NPP) 3,985 0.72% - (1)
Christian Democratic Party (CDP) 1,919 0.35% -
New Lesotho Freedom Party (NLFP) 1,671 0.30% -
Sefate Democratic Union (SDU) 1,584 0.29% -
Kopanang Basotho Party (KBP) 1,155 0.21% -
United Party (UP) 901 0.16% -
Social Democratic Party (SDP) 542 0.10% -
Vacant** - - 2 (2)
*80 members were directly elected in single-member constituencies; an additional 40 seats were allocated on the basis of proportional representation. The figures in parentheses reflect the final distribution of seats (direct + proportional).
**The election was postponed in two constituencies (Hlotse and Mount Moorosi) where candidates died prior to polling. By-elections were held on 24 August 2002 and the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) won both seats, raising its total to 79.
 
17 February 2007 National Assembly Election

Registered Voters

916,230

Total Votes (Voter Turnout)

Not Available (N/A)

Invalid/Blank Votes

Not Available

Total Valid Votes

442,963

Party Number of Votes % of Votes Number of Seats 80 (120)
Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) - - 61 (61)
National Independent Party (NIP) 229,602 51.83%   - (21)
All Basotho Convention (ABC) - - 17 (17)
Lesotho Workers' Party (LWP) 107,463 24.26%   - (10)
Basotho National Party (BNP) 29,965 6.76% - (3)
Alliance of Congress Parties [ACP] 20,263 4.57% 1 (2)
Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) 15,477 3.49% - (1)
Basotho Congress Party (BCP) 9,823 2.22% - (1)
Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP) 9,129 2.06% - (1)
Basotho Democratic National Party (BDNP) 8,783 1.98% - (1)
Basotho Batho Democratic Party (BBDP) 8,474 1.91% - (1)
New Lesotho Freedom Party (NLFP) 3,984 0.90% -
Vacant** - - 1 (1)
*80 members were directly elected in single-member constituencies; an additional 40 seats were allocated on the basis of proportional representation. The figures in parentheses reflect the final distribution of seats (direct + proportional).
**The vacant seat (Makhaleng constituency) was won by the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) in a by-election held on 30 June 2007, raising its total to 62.
 
26 May 2012 National Assembly Election

Registered Voters

1,127,980

Total Votes (Voter Turnout)

   564,451 (50.0%)

Invalid/Blank Votes

     12,725

Total Valid Votes

   551,726

Party Number of Votes % of Votes Number of Seats 80 (120)*
Democratic Congress (DC) 218,366 39.58% 41 (48)
All Basotho Convention (ABC) 138,917 25.18% 26 (30)
Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) 121,076 21.94% 12 (26)
Basotho National Party (BNP) 23,788 4.31% - (5)
Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) 11,166 2.02% 1 (3)
National Independent Party (NIP) 6,880 1.25%

- (2)

Lesotho People's Congress (LPC) 5,021 0.91%

- (1)

Basotho Democratic National Party (BDNP) 3,433 0.62%

- (1)

Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP) 3,300 0.60%

- (1)

Basotho Congress Party (BCP) 2,531 0.46%

- (1)

Basotho Batho Democratic Party (BBDP) 2,440 0.44%

- (1)

Lesotho Workers' Party (LWP) 2,408 0.44%

- (1)

All Democratic Corporation (ADC) 1,933 0.35% -
Lekhotla La Mekhoa le Moetlo (LMM) 1,691 0.31% -
Areka Covenant Front for Development (ACFD) 1,227 0.22% -
Sankatana Social Democratic Party (SSD) 1,081 0.20% -
Africa Unity Movement (AUM) 714 0.13% -
White Horse Party (WHP) 252 0.05% -
Independents 5,502 1.00% -
*80 members were directly elected in single-member constituencies; an additional 40 seats were allocated on the basis of proportional representation. The figures in parentheses reflect the final distribution of seats (direct + proportional).