Posted on Friday, 12 December 2014 16:24

Lesotho parties agree to February 2015 elections

By Crystal Oderson in Cape Town

Lesotho was plunged into a political turmoil after Prime Minister Thomas Thabane fled to South AfricaLesotho's warring political parties have agreed to ensure next year's elections are free and fair, South Africa's deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has said.

Ramaphosa was appointed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to mediate in talks among the parties following an attempted coup in August.

The landlocked country was plunged into a political after Prime Minister Thomas Thabane fled to South Africa, and closed parliament.

Ramaphosa attended the signing of the electoral pledge by the parties in the capital Maseru.

"They congregate here united in their diversity and a desire to normalise the political situation in the country," he said.

The mediator the parties were conscious of their mission to ensure Lesotho occupied its rightful place as an equal and reliable nation in the region.

"They are fully aware that they can only achieve this noble objective as a proud, sovereign and independent state based on constitutionality, the rule of law and the will of the people," Ramaphosa said.

The pledge was a commitment by the parties to help create a climate conducive for the holding of elections scheduled for February 28 next year.

A decision to hold elections next year was included in the Maseru Facilitation Declaration, which was signed by all the parties.

Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN) secretary general Ban Ki-moon has hailed the progress made in preparing for fresh elections in Lesotho.

"The secretary-general welcomes the progress achieved so far in the efforts to uphold democratic principles and secure the restoration of political stability and security in the Kingdom," the UN said in a statement issued in New York.

"He encourages all Basotho leaders to comply with the Maseru Facilitation Declaration and work together in a spirit of compromise to ensure an environment conducive to peaceful and credible elections."

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