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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 February 2007, 12:47 GMT
Ruling party wins Lesotho polls
Voters line up as they wait for the polls to open in the village of Machache, east of the capital Maseru
Voters have re-elected the LCD by a landslide
The governing party in Lesotho has been re-elected with a landslide majority after general elections at the weekend. The Lesotho Congress of Democrats (LCD) beat off a challenge from a newly formed opposition party led by the former foreign minister.

Tom Thabane had broken away to start the All Basotho Convention (ABC).

Observers said the kingdom, which is completely surrounded by South Africa, had seen a free and fair election.

Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili's LCD party won 61 seats while Mr Thabane's ABC were in second place with 17 seats.

The Alliance of Congress Parties took one seat. A new vote will be held to decide the final seat after one of the candidates died.

As well as 80 directly elected MPs, another 40 seats are allocated to parties under the proportional representation system to make up the country's 120-seat parliament.

Poll row

The polls were called after Mr Thabane resigned from the governing party in October and took 17 other MPs with him.

Lesotho map

This left the ruling LCD with 61 MPs - giving it a majority in parliament of just one.

Some opposition parties like the Basotholand African National Congress (Banc) have expressed concern that the ruling party and the electoral commission might have rigged the polls in favour of the LCD.

The opposition alleges that Mr Mosisili called early polls to stem defections from his party.

However, Mr Mosisili denied the claims.

Lesotho has almost 50% unemployment and a third of its adult population are infected with HIV/Aids - one of the highest infection rates in the world, says the BBC's southern Africa correspondent Peter Biles.

Its garment industry has also been hard hit by competition from China, and the removal of textile quotas.


SEE ALSO
Lesotho holds legislative polls
17 Feb 07 |  Africa
Country profile: Lesotho
17 Oct 06 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Lesotho
20 Dec 06 |  Country profiles

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