World Bulletin / News Desk
Voters in the small southern African kingdom of Lesotho cast ballots Saturday in an election widely expected to lead to another fractious coalition government and the risk of deepening instability.
Long queues formed outside polling stations from early morning, with many voters wearing traditional Basotho blankets to ward off the winter chill.
The snap election was announced in March when Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili lost a no-confidence vote after his seven-party coalition government broke up less than two years after it was formed.
The vote is seen as a two-horse race between old rivals Mosisili and Thomas Thabane, who ruled from 2012 to 2015, with the victor set to emerge from post-vote negotiations with coalition partners.
Thabane has drawn large crowds to his rallies and is seen as the narrow favourite.
Protests could break out if Mosisili is defeated and he refuses to concede power, "as his attitude and actions suggest he might," said Peter Fabricius of the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies.
In a research report, Fabricius said SADC, the southern African regional body, had made it clear to Mosisili that "it will not tolerate any theft of the election."
In the capital Maseru, Thabane's All Basotho Congress (ABC) and Mosisili's Democratic Congress (DC) party have competed for votes via giant billboards and posters.
"It is not likely that a single party will garner a majority of votes," political analyst Mafa Sejanamane, of the National University of Lesotho, told AFP.
"The urban vote is largely set to go to the ABC. The vote in rural areas is now likely to be shared between the DC and its splinter, the Alliance of Democrats."Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Haziran 2017, 11:34