How Parties Fared in the 2007 Election: A Theoretical Exploration of the Outcome

Lesotho, like other less developed countries, has embarked on the route to democratisation. As part of this process one of the tests a country must go through is the holding of free and fair elections. Elections have been recognised as one of the most important institutional mechanisms for shaping both political participation and competition. The role of elections in a democracy is but one of its fundamentals, albeit a vital one. Since the 1998 election in Lesotho one party appears to be not only dominating the political landscape but also winning every election. The Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) won the 1998, 2002 and 2007 elections despite the fact that it fragmented twice, giving rise to two parties – the Lesotho Peoples’ Congress in September 2001 and the All Basotho Convention in October 2006. In 2007 the LCD formed an election pact with the National Independent Party. In analysing the LCD’s repeated success this paper considers four voting models: sociological, party identification, patron-client, and rational choice. While there are various voting models the paper argues that the rational choice model appears to come closest to explaining the LCD’s success in 2007. It does not, however, claim that the model provides a definitive answer but attempts to reflect patterns that may reveal some similarities with the model.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: Basotho National Party (BNP), first-past-the-post (FPTP), LCD/NIP alliance, Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), Lesotho Workers’ Party (LWP), rational choice model (RCM)