Lesotho is a small land-locked country, completely surrounded by its neighbor South Africa. It has a population of about two million and a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of $1034.20. Lesotho is classified as a low-income country. Its territory is mostly highland with its lowest point sitting at 1400m above sea level (making it the highest base altitude in the world.

Political Profile/Structure/System

Politics of Lesotho takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic constitutional monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister of Lesotho is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of Parliament, the Senate and the National Assembly. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The Lesotho Government is a constitutional monarchy. The Prime Minister, Pakalitha Mosisili, is head of government and has executive authority. The King serves a largely ceremonial function; he no longer possesses any executive authority and is proscribed from actively participating in political initiatives. 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. .

Elections and Political Parties

The 120 members of the National Assembly are elected in two groups; 80 are elected in single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post voting, with 40 elected by proportional representation in a single nationwide constituency. Voters cast one vote. The 40 proportional seats are allocated on a compensatory system, in order to reflect the number of votes received by each party Lesotho uses the mixed-member proportional representation voting system. More than 1.2 million voters had been registered by the Independent Electoral Commission. The opposition Democratic Congress managed to form a coalition government as no party achieved an outright majority. Voter turnout was 48%.
Political parties: Democratic Congress All Basotho Convention Lesotho Congress for Democracy Basotho National Party.

By The Numbers

Elections: single house or lower Seats: 120; women: 30; % women: 25.0% Upper house Seats: 33; women: 8; % women: 24.2% Education The adult literacy rate in Lesotho is above Sub-Saharan average. According to recent statistics, 95% of women are literate compared to 83% of men. Primary Education Enrolment: Male: 71%; Female: 75%; GPI: 1.05 Survival Rate to Last Grade of Primary Male: 35%; Female: 56% Secondary Education Enrolment Male: 22%; Female: 36%; GPI: 1.63 Adult Literacy Male: 83%; Female: 95%


Participation and Inclusion

Gender stereotype that politics is the domain of women still persists and discourages women from taking an active role in this arena. Other reasons inhibiting women’s participation in politics include: Their lack of hands-on experience in politics Women not being sensitive to the fact that they have to be in leadership structures and processes The existence of a legal framework which is discriminatory to women.