Pakalitha Mosisili, Prime Minister of Lesotho. The politician who led Lesotho for the last 14 years will now be leading the opposition after his party failed to win a majority in parliament. Photo: Leon Lestrade

Pakalitha Mosisili resigned as prime minister of Lesotho on Wednesday after serving in the post for 14 years.

His newly formed Democratic Congress (DC) party won 48 seats in Saturday's parliamentary elections - more than any other party. But, it was not enough to secure a majority in the 120-member parliament.

Several parties, led by the long-time opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC), say they have managed to create a coalition of 64 seats and will try to create a government. It would be the first coalition government in the southern African nation's history.

ABC leader Tom Thabane is considered the most likely to take over as prime minister, if the coalition comes together. The formal swearing in of a new premier is expected within 14 days in the constitutional monarchy.

Lesotho, a mountain kingdom entirely surrounded by South Africa, has some 2 million inhabitants, about 40 per cent of whom live in abject poverty.

Police and military units patrolled the streets of the capital Maseru after the election result was announced late Tuesday.

In 1998, there was a coup attempt and violent protests against Mosisili shortly after he won elections. South Africa and Botswana

intervened military and restored order. -