Alliances, Coalitions and the Political System in Lesotho: 2007-2012

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.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: All Basotho Convention (ABC), Basotho National Party (BNP), first-past-the-post (FPTP), Government of National Unity, Inkatha Freedom party (IFP), lesotho, mixed member proportional (MMP), the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD)
journal of african elections vol13 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa