Lesotho’s New Party Expected to Win Polls, Early Results Show

The kingdom of Lesotho, surrounded by South Africa, has elected the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) party into power, early results show, amid longstanding political instability.

The recently formed party was celebrating Monday as it won a comfortable majority in the parliamentary polls, according to early results.

The RFP is led by millionaire diamond magnate Sam Matekane, who is believed to be the richest man in the country.

The victory comes following years of political instability. Not one premier has managed to hold a full five-year term in office in over a decade.

A former British colony, the mountain kingdom has many coups and attempted coups since gaining independence in 1966.

The RFP, which was established in March, ousted the previously ruling All Basotho Convention that came to power in 2017.

The country has a mixed electoral system, with 80 of the 120 total seats allocated by a first-past-the-post system.

RFP candidates secured at least 49 of those 80 seats designated to determine the ruling party. The remaining 40 seats are filled in a proportional representation system, determined by voters’ preference for parties rather than candidates.

The main opposition party, the Democratic Congress, has maintained its second-place spot.

The RFP identifies as a social liberal party with a mandate to grow the economy by double digits by 2030.

That promise to appeal to voters, as nearly a third of Lesotho’s 2.2 million people live on less than $2 a day.

Commonwealth observers said that while voting on Friday was peaceful, there were issues with the voter registry at some polling stations.

Observers recommended a review of the registration process to avoid duplicate names and ensure the inclusion of young voters.

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