At stake in this election:
- 120 seats in the National Assembly
Description of government structure:
- Chief of State: King LETSIE III *
- Head of Government: Prime Minister Pakalitha MOSISILI
- Assembly: Lesotho has a bicameral Parliament consisting of the Senate with 33 seats and the National Assembly with 120 seats.
* The monarch is hereditary. Under traditional law, the college of chiefs has the power to depose and/or invest a monarch.
Description of electoral system:
- The King is hereditary head of state.
- The Prime Minister is selected by parliament.
- In the Senate, 22 members are hereditary to serve 5-year terms and 11 members are nominated by the monarch to serve 5-year terms. In the National Assembly, 80 members are elected by plurality vote in single-member constituencies to serve 5-year terms and 40 members are elected through a closed-list proportional representation system to serve 5-year terms.**
** Lesotho uses a unique method of Mixed-Member Proportional Representation (MMP). Voters receive two ballots on Election Day; the first is used to vote for a candidate in the nominal tier, while the second is for the party list tier. The list tier ballot is used to determine the number of seats each party would receive if the system was fully proportional. Seats are allocated using a variant of the Hare Quota. The total number of votes cast on the party ballot is divided by the total number of seats at stake in the National Assembly (normally 120) in a given election. The number of votes each party received on the party ballot is divided by this quota to determine how many seats it deserves to receive. By calculating the quota with the total number of open seats (as opposed to just seats in the PR tier) it can be determined how many seats a party should have won if the system was perfectly proportional. This number is than compared to the seats a party won in the nominal tier to determine how many seats it should be awarded in the list tier. (For example, if a party is determined to deserve 20 seats and it won 10 in the nominal tier, it will be given an additional 10 seats). If this allocation fails to proportionally allocate seats (parties still being more or less seats than they deserve based on the PR tier results) the quota is recalculated, but this time excluding the seats for those parties which had won more than their fair share in the nominal tier. The 40 PR seats are than awarded using this new quota.
Main parties in the electoral race:
- Party: Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD)*
Leader: Mothejoa METSING
Seats won in last National Assembly election: 62
- Party: Democratic Congress (DC)**
Leader: Pakalitha MOSISILI
Seats won in last National Assembly election: N/A
- Party: All Basotho Convention (ABC)
Leader: Tom THABANE
Seats won in last National Assembly election: 17
- Party: Basotho National Party (BNP)
Leader: Justin Metsing LEKHANYA
Seats won in last National Assembly election: 1
- Party: Lesotho People's Congress (LPC)
Seats won in last National Assembly election: 0
* Pakalitha MOSISILI, who led the LCD, left to form his own party, the Democratic Congress (DC)
** The Democratic Congress is a new party, formed in February 2012, after Prime Minister Pakalitha MOSISILI was pushed out of the then-ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD). At the time of the election, the DC holds a slim majority as 45 LCD MPs defected along with MOSISILI.
Population and number of registered voters:
- Population: 1,930,493 (July 2012 est.)
- Registered Voters: 1,127,980 (May 2012 )