Lesotho gets new prime minister as top court puts off Egyptian election

What you need to know:

  • Egypt to wait a little bit longer for an elected legislature after House was sent home in 2012
  • The first step of the transition following Morsi’s ouster was the adoption of a new Constitution in 2014.

More than a week after holding a closely-fought snap election made necessary by chronic instability, Lesotho now has a new prime minister who is set to come up with a new coalition government any time now.

To many observers, the elections held last week have not brought any dramatic changes to the Lesotho political scene. Instead, the polls were, when all is said and done, a classic case of musical chairs.

In effect, there was a mild reshuffling of players within the country’s well established political class.

For starters new Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili has been there before, and is no neophyte in the country’s notoriously confrontational politics.

Having occupied the PM position before, the head of the Democratic Congress (DC) party will have to work extremely hard to bring badly needed changes in the perennially unstable country.

It does not help matters that veteran politician Mosisili, whose party narrowly led in the polls by winning 47 seats, was unable to definitively beat incumbent Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, whose All Basotho Convention (ABC) party came second with 46 seats.

The result of the narrow margin between the two frontrunners was that none of the contesting parties was able to hit the magic number of 61 seats needed for an outright victory.

Inevitably, that situation prompted the need for the formation of yet another coalition, the second one in the country, to pave the formation of a new government.

The just-concluded elections were, therefore, followed by furious political negotiations with lesser opposition parties seeking to enable Mosisili garner the requisite 61 seats to clinch the premier’s position.

That done, Thabane’s goose was cooked, and he was constitutionally kicked out of the PM’s position.

Lesotho’s politics has for decades been chaotic at the best of times, and the south African country has a history of disruptive military coups.

Whether the long-awaited stability is forthcoming remains a matter of conjecture amid speculation about whether the recently formed coalition will hold.

What is for sure, though, is that Lesotho will soon have a new government, which is expected to be formed within two weeks of the announcement of results, as stipulated by the country’s constitution.

In the meantime, there were dramatic developments in Egypt last week, with the country’s Administrative Court delaying parliamentary elections that were set to take place in phases beginning March 22.

Pointedly, Egypt has not had an elected legislature since 2012 when the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that parliament’s lower chamber was not constitutionally elected.

Preparation of the poll’s time-table will now have to await amendments to the existing law— a process expected to take at least several weeks.

The just suspended legislative polls were deemed crucial, and were to constitute the final phase in a transition period following the 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi by the military.

As matters stood, the suspended election was deemed the third and final step in a road map announced by the then military chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi when he ousted Morsi in July 2013.

The latter and his Muslim Brotherhood party had swept into power after convincingly winning Egypt’s first free parliamentary following the dramatic 2011 uprising that toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi’s regime was short-lived, however, and today the Brotherhood he led is officially considered a “terrorist” organisation, with its leadership and thousands of its members lingering in the country’s jails.

The first step of the transition following Morsi’s ouster was the adoption of a new Constitution in 2014.

The second step comprised the holding of a presidential election that was, as widely expected, won by el-Sisi.

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