Screening Political Party Candidates and the Implications for Electoral Performance: The Case of the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) in Lesotho’s 2022 General Elections

The formation of the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) party in March 2022 has radically altered Lesotho’s political landscape. Apart from the new calibre of political leadership, the party has, in line with its name, revolutionised some of the traditions long held by Lesotho’s political parties. Contrary to the closed primary elections that most parties use, the RFP introduced a combination of centralised and technocratic approaches in determining the list of party candidates for the October 2022 elections. With the former, the party reserved candidateship in eleven constituencies for persons appointed by the leader. Four front runners in the primary elections in the remaining constituencies would be subjected to various screening methods with the final determination to be made by the party leadership. The detractors have mocked the RFP’s approach as undemocratic and undermining the will of the people. The party also experienced internal resistance that led to it being taken to the law courts where some decisions were reversed. Using various data collection methods, this paper discusses the strategies used by the RFP and shows that much as they are not common in Lesotho, these strategies are not entirely new in politics as they are used in other democratic systems. An examination of the October 2022 elections results shows that despite the court challenges, the RFP’s candidate selection strategies had a positive impact on the party’s performance as well as on the profile of the resultant National Assembly.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
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