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Elections on course

Lesotho's general elections are on track to be held around April 2002, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said in its latest update.

Although no specific date has been set, and several previous deadlines have been missed, "voter registration has been successfully completed and the process accepted by all the main parties, so there is no reason to expect further delays," the EIU predicted.

The unit forecasted a sweeping victory for the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), "if only because the opposition parties have failed to convince voters that they could do a better job". A successful election, after a controversial poll in 1998 which precipitated a near coup and regional military intervention, would be rewarded with "more favourable treatment from international donors".

In the run-up to the poll, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has allocated US $51,000 to the political parties for campaigning. So far 16 parties have been registered by the IEC, but Lesotho's newest has complained that the ruling party has delayed its registration.

The Lesotho People's Congress (LPC), officially launched at the weekend, is an off-shoot of the LCD which was formed when 27 parliamentarians defected following a power struggle within the ruling party. The LPC's interim leader, Kelebone Maope, a former deputy prime minister, told the launch rally that the LDC had tried to make it impossible for the new party to use the portrait of former LCD leader, Ntsu Mokhele, as the party's symbol.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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