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    Lesotho Government 2000

      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); note - King LETSIE III formerly occupied the throne from November 1990 to February 1995, while his father was in exile
      head of government: Prime Minister Pakalitha MOSISILI (since 23 May 1998)
      cabinet: Cabinet
      elections: none; according to the constitution, the leader of the majority party in the assembly automatically becomes prime minister; 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 2000; date to be determined by Interim Political Authority)
      election results: percent of vote by party - LCD 61%; seats by party - LCD 79, BNP 1
      note: results contested; opposition parties claimed the election was fraudulent and staged a coup; Southern African Development Community (SADC) forces intervened in September 1998 and restored order; the Interim Political Authority (IPA) was set up in December 1998 to create a new electoral system and conduct new elections within 18 months

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

      Political parties and leaders: Basotho National Party or BNP [Maj. Gen. Justine Metsing LEKHANYA]; Basotholand Congress Party or BCP [Molapo QHOBELA, leader (currently suspended), Ntsukunyane MPHANYA, secretary general]; Lesotho Congress for Democracy or LCD [Dr. Pakalitha MOSISILI, leader; Shakhane MOKHEHLE, secretary general] - the governing party; United Democratic Party or UDP [Charles MOFELI]; Marematlou Freedom Party or MFP and Setlamo Alliance [Vincent MALEBO]; National Progressive Party or NPP [Chief Peete Nkoebe PEETE]; Sefate Democratic Party or SDP [Bofihla NKUEBE]

      International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, 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 Lebohang Kenneth MOLEKO
      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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