IEC sets by-elections for month-end

MASERU — The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) will conduct by-elections on November 26 in 18 councils where voting did not happen or failed to produce winners during last month’s local council poll.

IEC spokesperson Tuoe Hantši told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday that primary elections for candidates started on Tuesday and will end today.

He said polling failed to take place in seven councils due to a lack or delays in delivery of stationery and death of candidates.

He said in other councils the election failed to produce a result after candidates were tied.

Councils in which there will be a by-election owing to a tie include Siloe 07 in Mohale’s Hoek, Semonkong Urban Council 04 in Maseru, Kueneng Community Council 05 in Berea and Sanqabetu Community Council 09 in Mokhotlong.

For instance, in the two councils of Manonyane Community Council in Roma and Qiloane Community Council in Thaba-Bosiu, the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party and the main opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) party had a tie.

According to Hantši, the by-election in such constituencies would be restricted to only these two political parties.

“This is because the contest is between the two political parties who had a tie in the election. Other political parties that failed to field candidates initially will not take part,” Hantši said.

“Voters will also be notified that they will be casting their vote for only two candidates,” he said.

In councils where voting failed to take place due to lack of stationery there will be no primary elections because the same candidates would be fielded.

These include Mohale’s Hoek Urban Council, Senqunyane 11, Senekane 12, Mokhotlong Urban, Maputsoe Urban 04, Matsoku 04, Matsoku 14 and Quthing Urban Council 02.

The Lesotho Defence Forces failed to deliver stationery in Thaba-Tseka district’s Tenesolo 11, Tenesolo 12, Khutlo se Metsi 03, Khutlo se Metsi 05, Khutlo se Metsi 17, Khutlo se Metsi 18 and Khutlo se Metsi 19.

The army said its helicopter could not land in those areas because of bad weather.

The LCD won 69 of the 77 contested councils.

The victory suggests the LCD is still the party of choice for thousands of Basotho voters countrywide despite the bitter infighting rocking the party.

The ABC which gave the LCD a fright at the last general election in 2006 won a paltry three councils.

These were; Berea Urban Council, Hleoheng Community Council as well as Mohlakeng Community Council.

The Basotho National Party (BNP) won two councils namely; the Thaba-Tseka Urban Council and Sanqabetu Community Council in Mokhotlong district.

The Popular Front for Democracy walked away with a single council, the Tšale-Moleka Community Council in Butha-Buthe.

Twenty-seven electoral divisions were not contested in the poll because only the LCD had fielded candidates.

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