The 1993 Constitution states that the country should be a democratic monarchy with multi-party systems and parliamentary rule. Thus, the party that succeeds in gathering a majority in Parliament will form a government. These rules of the game have usually been followed even though the elections themselves are surrounded by accusations of electoral fraud. Since 2012, the political situation has been very unstable with violence and attacks on politicians.
The monarch (head of state) has only representative information and serves as a unifying symbol for the country.
- Countryaah: Total population and chart of Lesotho for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
Parliament consists of two chambers, the National Assembly and the Senate. The legislative power lies with the National Assembly, which consists of 120 members. 80 are elected by majority vote in one-man constituencies and 40 are elected according to a proportional system when the votes are counted for the entire country. The term of office is five years. The Senate has 33 members, of which 22 are traditional chieftains and eleven are appointed by the ruling party. The Senate reviews and approves the laws passed by the National Assembly but cannot initiate laws on its own.
Party politics is dominated more by people than by ideologies. The two oldest parties – Basotho National Party (Basotho National Party, GDP) and Basotho Congress Party (Basotho Congress Party, BCP) – have both lost in influence.
In 1997, short for LS by Abbreviationfinder, Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) was formed through an outbreak of BCP. LCD won all elections until 2007, but was weakened by internal contradictions. In 2012, many of the party members followed with Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili as he left the LCD and formed the Democratic Congress (DC). The party won the elections held in 2012 and 2015, but lost 2017 to the Allbasothian Convention (see below).
DC, in turn, split in 2016 when DC’s Deputy Party leader Monyane Moleleki was excluded after a battle for the party leader post and founded a new party of the Democrats Alliance (Alliance of Democrats, AD). A number of members followed with Moleleki. The party came four in the 2017 elections and became part of the coalition government that was then formed.
All Basotho Convention (All Basotho Convention, ABC) also has roots in LCD. After a power struggle between Mosisili and one of his ministers Tom Thabane in 2004, Thabane broke out of LCD and formed ABC. The party won the election in 2012, lost barely against DC in the new election in 2015, but came back to power in 2017.
Otherwise, there are up to ten smaller parties.
The judiciary is a mixture of the British legal system, which Lesotho has inherited from the colonial era, and local courts applying domestic customary law. Women and men should be equal before the law, but it often happens that men invoke customary law, which violates women’s rights.
The death penalty is formally left in the legislation and can be punished for some particularly serious crimes. No executions have been carried out since 1995. Lesotho receives criticism from human rights organizations for slow judicial processes, poor conditions in prisons and police violence.