MASERU — Three opposition parties have sealed a deal to form a coalition government.
The leaders of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Basotho National Party (BNP) signed the deal on Tuesday.
The deal has been approved by the executive committees of the three parties.
The agreement seen by the Lesotho Times says ABC leader Tom Thabane whose party got 30 seats in Saturday’s election will be the prime minister.
Mothetjoa Metsing whose LCD party got 26 seats will be the deputy prime minister.
A role will be found for BNP leader Thesele Maseribane whose party got five seats.
The coalition commands the 61 seats required to form a government.
This paper understands that although the three parties started talking before the election the real negotiations for the coalition started on Sunday after the parties realised that Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s Democratic Congress (DC) had failed to garner 61 votes to form a government.
The DC has 48 seats and is scrounging around to get the 13 more seats it requires to remain in government.
Yesterday Thabane, Metsing and Maseribane informed the Independent Electoral Commission and the Council of State about their deal.
Their letter said “from the results of the general elections 2012 it is apparent that the coalition stands to command majority in the National Assembly, being a total number of 61 seats”.
“We therefore kindly request the Council of State to advice (sic) the King accordingly and attend to this matter urgently as the issue is of national interest,” the letter said.
The deal means that even if the DC manages to persuade other small parties to join its coalition it will not be able to muster enough seats to form a government.
As things stand the Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) which got three votes has already said it will throw its lot behind the Thabane-led coalition.
The Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP) which got one seat has said it will do the same.
That means the DC will have to negotiate with All Democratic Corporation, Basotho Congress Party, Basotho Democratic National Party, National Independent Party, Lesotho People’s Congress, Lesotho Workers’ Party and Basotho Batho Democratic Party.
These parties got one seat each. Even if they agree to form a coalition their seats will not help the DC get 61 seats.
The best the coalition can achieve is 55 seats.
Last night the DC’s deputy leader Monyane Moleleki said his party was going to proceed with attempts to form a coalition government.
Moleleki told a press conference that was also attended by dozens of supporters that the party has started negotiating with some political parties to form a government.
He however refused to name parties the DC had approached, saying that information will only be revealed in parliament.
He also said the DC would accept defeat if it fails to get enough seats to form a government.
“If there is no party ready to form a coalition with us then we will concede defeat and become His Majesty’s loyal opposition,” Moleleki said.
In an interview last night Thabane said there is “no way the DC is going to form a government”.
He said Mosisili must start packing “his bags from the State House and government because his time is up”.
“The election result shows that the people want change and the DC must accept that,” said Thabane.
“I can tell you that Mosisili is now 100 percent replaceable.
“He should just go.”
Thabane said over the next few days he will meet Metsing and Maseribane to tie the loose ends of the deal.
“Although there are some differences in policies we think that will not stop us from working together in government.
“Most of the differences are on emphasis and outlook but that can be worked out”.
Thabane said he was going “to fight like hell” if the DC tries to approach some of his MPs to cross the floor.
“In the coalition we are determined that we will not be divided or induced.
“We are united by our determination to get the DC out of government.”
Mosisili tendered his resignation as premier to the King yesterday but was told to remain as head of government until a new administration takes over.
The King was worried that Mosisili’s resignation would leave a vacuum in government.