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Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. The Basuto National Party ruled for the first two decades. King MOSHOESHOE was exiled in 1990, but returned to Lesotho in 1992 and was reinstated in 1995 and subsequently succeeded by his son, King LETSIE III, in 1996. Constitutional government was restored in 1993 after seven years of military rule. In 1998, violent protests and a military mutiny following a contentious election prompted a brief but bloody intervention by South African and Botswana military forces under the aegis of the Southern African Development Community. Subsequent constitutional reforms restored relative political stability. Peaceful parliamentary elections were held in 2002, but the National Assembly elections of February 2007 were hotly contested and aggrieved parties continue to dispute how the electoral law was applied to award proportional seats in the Assembly.


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Government

Country name
Conventional long form Kingdom of Lesotho
Conventional short form Lesotho
Local long form Kingdom of Lesotho
Local short form Lesotho
Former Basutoland

Government type
Parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Capital
Name Maseru
Geographic coordinates 29 19 S, 27 29 E
Time difference
UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions
10 districts; Berea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng, Maseru, Mohale's Hoek, Mokhotlong, Qacha's Nek, Quthing, Thaba-Tseka

Independence
4 October 1966 (from the UK)

Constitution
2 April 1993

Legal system
Mixed legal system of English common law and Roman-Dutch law; judicial review of legislative acts in High Court and Court of Appeal

International law organization participation
Accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state
King LETSIE III (since 7 February 1996); note - King LETSIE III formerly occupied the throne from November 1990 to February 1995 while his father was in exile
Head of government
Prime Minister Thomas Motsoahae THABANE (since 8 June 2012)
Cabinet Cabinet
Elections
According to the constitution, the leader of the majority party in the Assembly automatically becomes prime minister; the monarchy is hereditary, but, under the terms of the constitution that 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 depose the monarch, determine who is next in the line of succession, or who shall serve as regent in the event that the successor is not of mature age

Legislative branch
Bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (33 members - 22 principal chiefs and 11 other members appointed by the ruling party) and the Assembly (120 seats, 80 by popular vote and 40 by proportional vote; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Elections
Last held on 26 May 2012 (next to be held in 2017)
Election results
Percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - DC 48, ABC 30, LCD 26, BNP 5, PFD 3, NIP 2, other 6

Judicial branch
High Court (chief justice appointed by the monarch acting on the advice of the prime minister); Court of Appeal; Magistrate Courts; customary or traditional courts

Political parties and leaders
All Basotho Convention or ABC [Thomas THABANE]; Basotho Batho Democratic Party or BBDP; Basotho Congress Party or BCP; Basotho Democratic National Party or BDNP [Thabang NYEOE]; Basotho National Party or BNP [vacant]; Democratic Congress or DC; Lesotho Congress for Democracy or LCD [Pakalitha MOSISILI]; Lesotho Peoples Congress or LPC; Lesotho Workers Party or LWP [Macaefa BILLY]; Marematlou Freedom Party or MFP; National Independent Party or NIP [Anthony MANYELI]; Popular Front for Democracy or PFD

Political pressure groups and leaders
Media Institute of Southern Africa, Lesotho chapter [Thabang MATJAMA] (pushes for media freedom)

International organization participation
ACP, AfDB, AU, C, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, SACU, SADC, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the us
Chief of mission
Ambassador Eliachim Molapi SEBATANE
Chancery
2511 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone [1] (202) 797-5533
FAX [1] (202) 234-6815

Diplomatic representation from the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Michele T. BOND
Embassy
254 Kingsway, Maseru West (Consular Section)
Mailing address
P. O. Box 333, Maseru 100, Lesotho
Telephone [266] 22 312666
FAX [266] 22 310116

Flag description
Three horizontal stripes of blue (top), white, and green in the proportions of 3:4:3; the colors represent rain, peace, and prosperity respectively; centered in the white stripe is a black Basotho hat representing the indigenous people; the flag was unfurled in October 2006 to celebrate 40 years of independence

National symbol(s)
Basotho hat

National anthem
Name
"Lesotho fatse la bo ntat'a rona" (Lesotho, Land of Our Fathers)
Lyrics/music
Francois COILLARD/Ferdinand-Samuel LAUR
Note
Adopted 1967; the anthem's music derives from an 1823 Swiss songbook


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  Lesotho (Maseru):


  GPS points from Lesotho (Maseru)

Lehloenyas Lesotho (general)

Cheri Lesotho (general)

Khabos Butha-buthe

Maboloka Lesotho (general)

Mohoale Stream Lesotho (general)

Nkoeng Lesotho (general)

Leqooa Lesotho (general)

Mpetsana Stream Lesotho (general)




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