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Lesotho Government

    Country name:
    conventional long form: Kingdom of Lesotho
    conventional short form: Lesotho
    former: Basutoland

    Data code: LT

    Government type: parliamentary constitutional monarchy

    Capital: Maseru

    Administrative divisions: 10 districts; Berea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng, Maseru, Mohales Hoek, Mokhotlong, Qacha's Nek, Quthing, Thaba-Tseka

    Independence: 4 October 1966 (from UK)

    National holiday: Independence Day, 4 October (1966)

    Constitution: 2 April 1993

    Legal system: based on English common law and Roman-Dutch law; judicial review of legislative acts in High Court and Court of Appeal; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

    Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

    Executive branch:
    chief of state: King LETSIE III (since 7 February 1996, succeeded to the throne following the death of his father, King MOSHOESHOE II, on 16 January 1996); note—King LETSIE III formerly occupied the throne (November 1990 to February 1995) while his father was in exile
    head of government: Prime Minister Pakalitha MOSISILI (since NA May 1998)
    cabinet: Cabinet
    elections: none; the monarch is hereditary, but, under the terms of the constitution which came into effect after the March 1993 election, the monarch is a "living symbol of national unity" with no executive or legislative powers; under traditional law the college of chiefs has the power to determine who is next in the line of succession, who shall serve as regent in the event that the successor is not of mature age, and may even depose the monarch

    Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (33 members—22 principal chiefs and 11 other members appointed by the ruling party) and the Assembly (80 seats; members elected by popular vote for five-year terms); note—number of seats in the Assembly rose from 65 to 80 in the May 1998 election
    elections: last held 23 May 1998 (next to be held in late 1999 or early 2000)
    election results: percent of vote by party—LCD 61%; seats by party—LCD 79, BCP 1
    note: results contested; LCD, with only 61% of the vote, won 79 out of 80 parliamentary seats based on a historical political consensus for a "winner take all" formula

    Judicial branch: High Court, chief justice appointed by the monarch; Court of Appeal; Magistrate's Court; customary or traditional court

    Political parties and leaders:
    ruling party: Lesotho Congress for Democracy or LCD [Dr. Pakalitha MOSISILI, leader; Shakhane MOKHEHLE, secretary general]
    opposition party: Basotho National Party or BNP [leader NA]; Basotholand Congress Party or BCP [Molapo QHOBELA]; Lesotho Labor Party/United Democratic Party Alliance or LLP/UDP [Charles MOFELI and Mamolefi RANTHIMO]; Marematlou Freedom Party or MFP [Vincent MALEBO]; National Progressive Party or NPP [Chief Peete Nkoebe PEETE]; Sefate Democratic Union or SDU [Bofihla NKUEBE]; Lesotho Congress for Democracy or LCD [leader NA]

    International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Dr. Eunice M. BULANE
    chancery: 2511 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 797-5533 through 5536
    FAX: [1] (202) 234-6815

    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Katherine H. PETERSON
    embassy: 254 Kingsway, Maseru West (Consular Section)
    mailing address: P. O. Box 333, Maseru 100, Lesotho
    telephone: [266] 312666
    FAX: [266] 310116

    Flag description: divided diagonally from the lower hoist side corner; the upper half is white, bearing the brown silhouette of a large shield with crossed spear and club; the lower half is a diagonal blue band with a green triangle in the corner

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)