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The party of Lesotho's longtime prime minister is just behind the main opposition as vote counting nears completion for the southern African country's parliamentary elections, the Independent Electoral Commission reported Monday.
The commission posted results from 64 of 80 constituencies on its website Monday afternoon. The tally showed the All Basotho Convention with 26 seats and Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili's Democratic Congress with 25. Shortly before Saturday's vote in this nation of 2 million, Mosisili broke away from the Lesotho Congress for Democracy, which had been riven by an internal power struggle.
The Lesotho Congress for Democracy had 12 seats while another opposition party had one according to the counts Monday afternoon. Final results are expected Tuesday.
The Lesotho Congress for Democracy under Mosisili won elections in 1998, 2002 and 2007.
In the first decades after independence from Britain in 1966, Lesotho's military and its king repeatedly meddled in politics, weakening democracy. The king is now considered merely a figurehead.
After an army mutiny in 1998, South Africa, which surrounds mountainous Lesotho, led a military intervention. That was followed by political negotiations that led to electoral reforms meant to give a greater voice to the opposition to the entrenched Lesotho Congress for Democracy.
As part of the reforms, 40 seats allotted by proportional representation were added to parliament's 80 elected seats. - Sapa-AP