On Friday 8 June, Thomas Thabane succeeded Pakalitha Mosisili as the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, not by winning elections but by building a coalition government with the support of the opposition. The outcome of Lesotho’s 2012 general elections was historic for three main reasons.
Firstly, the country moved from a single party majority government under the Lesotho Congress Party (LCD), led by former Prime Minister Mosisili since 1997, to a coalition government. Mosisili, who led the newly created LCD splinter party, the Democratic Congress (DC), to a significant win of 48 parliamentary seats (218 366 votes out of a total of 551 726) fell short of winning an outright parliamentary majority, leading to his defeat.
The second reason for the significance of these elections is that the coalition, which unseated and relegated the ruling DC to opposition status, was itself produced by opposition parties in the minority.
The third point to highlight is that the parliamentary opposition numbers are now far more significant than during the previous parliament, which was characterised by a fragmented and weakened opposition.