Ramaphosa Calls for ‘Inclusive’ Lesotho Government After Vote

South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa called on Lesotho’s political parties to form a broad-based government after no clear winner emerged from the Feb. 28 election.

Ramaphosa, who helped negotiate the early vote as part of an agreement brokered by the Southern African Development Community, told reporters that an inclusive administration is not a demand of the SADC but the desire expressed by “the people of Lesotho, through their vote.”

The main opposition Democratic Congress, led by Pakalitha Mosisili, said on Wednesday it will form a coalition government with six smaller parties to give it 65 of the 120 seats in Parliament, enough to end Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s rule. The DC won 47 seats compared with 46 seats secured by Thabane’s All Basotho Convention.

Eleven political parties signed a statement on Thursday accepting the election result. While most of the signatories were party leaders, Thabane didn’t add his name.

Thabane has ruled the mountainous southern African kingdom of 2 million people since 2012 in a coalition. He suspended Parliament in June, a move opposed by the Lesotho Congress for Democracy, the party of his deputy prime minister Mothetjoa Metsing. Thabane fled the country in August after claiming the military was trying to oust him.

Metsing’s LCD will join a coalition with the opposition DC, Mosisili said on Wednesday.

Lesotho provides labor to South African mines and supplies water to the industrial hub of Gauteng. More than 1.22 million voters registered to vote in the election, which was contested by 1,106 candidates from 23 parties, including 24 independents.

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