n Journal of African Elections - Alliances, coalitions and the political system in Lesotho 2007-2012

Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-4700



This paper assesses political party alliances and coalitions in Lesotho, focusing on their causes and their consequences for party systems, democratic consolidation, national cohesion and state governability. We agree with Kapa (2008) that formation of the pre-2007 alliances can be explained in terms of office-seeking theory in that the political elite used alliances to access and retain power. These alliances altered the country's party system, leading to conflict between parties inside and outside Parliament, as well as effectively changing the mixed member proportional (MMP) electoral system into a parallel one, thereby violating the spirit of the system. However, the phenomenon did not change state governability; it effectively perpetuated the one-party dominance of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and threatened national cohesion. The post-2012 coalition, on the other hand, was a product of a hung parliament produced by the elections. The impact of the coalition on the party system, state governability and democratic consolidation is yet to be determined as the coalition phenomenon is still new. However, state governability has been marked by a generally very slow pace of policy implementation and the party system has been both polarised and reconfigured while national cohesion has been strengthened. The major challenge for political leaders is to manage the coalition arrangement for the good of the country, which we strongly feel they must, since it seems that coalition governments are very likely to be a permanent feature of Lesotho politics.

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