Lesotho's general election of 1998: rigged or de rigeur?

Southall, R. and Fox, R.C. (1999) Lesotho's general election of 1998: rigged or de rigeur? Journal of Modern African Studies, 37 (4). pp. 669-696. ISSN 0022-278X



Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022278X99003183


The official result of Lesotho's general election of 1998, which saw a 79 out of 80 seat victory for the ruling Lesotho Congress of Democrats (LCD), was repudiated by the opposition, notably the former ruling Basotho National Party (BNP) and the Basutoland Congress Party (BCP). These latter parties were historic enemies but forged an alliance of convenience to contest the outcome of the election. By mobilising their supporters to occupy Maseru they successfully paralysed the capacity of the LCD to govern. After diplomatic preliminaries, this led to military intervention by South Africa and Botswana in September 1998 and their brokering of an agreement which restored the LCD to power, on the condition that a new election would be held within eighteen months, with the rules for that contest being discussed between the parties in the interim. That election has now been scheduled for April 2000. The article reviews the conduct and result of the general election of 1998. It concludes that the opposition's objections were largely spurious, but notes that the unbalanced nature of the LCD's victory – a product of the first-past-the-post electoral system – was a major cause of the wider crisis. It therefore proposes that any lasting settlement of political differences in Lesotho is going to require a new electoral system which will allow for a more inclusive outcome.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:elections; parliamentary elections; electoral systems; corruption; political opposition; military intervention; Lesotho Congress of Democrats; LCD; Basotho National Party; BNP; Basutoland Congress Party ; BCP; Lesotho
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Geography
Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Political Studies and International Studies
ID Code:711
Deposited On:08 Jun 2007
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:18
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