Commonwealth Special Envoy to Lesotho, Dr Rajen Prasad, has published guidelines on coalition formation and sustainability for the southern African country.
The guidelines were developed by the Commonwealth after months of consultations by Dr Prasad with political stakeholders, church leaders and with a variety of civil society groups in Lesotho.
The guidelines are intended to assist political stakeholders ahead of upcoming elections and to help them prepare for negotiations on coalition government. They focus on the election process from when a political party decides to contest the elections to the conclusion of the government formation process.
Dr Prasad presented his report on Thursday 18 December 2014 in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. “The guidelines are designed to assist all key players to participate in a robust election process and then to form a government that reflects the wishes of the people and which carries out the mandate on which it was elected,” Dr Prasad said.
“The guidelines traverse four stages that comprise the context of elections and coalition formation. Political parties are in focus at three of these stages as they prepare for elections, contest the election campaign and then enter into coalition formation. One stage belongs exclusively to the voters as they consider casting their ballots in the upcoming elections.”
Entitled ‘Working Towards a Sustainable Democracy: Some Guidelines for a Robust Election Process’, the document is also intended to enhance the level of awareness among citizens of the election process in general and of coalition governments in a mixed member proportional system.
Publication comes as the Kingdom of Lesotho prepares for another election having now experienced a coalition government for two and a half years. The Commonwealth Secretariat has been engaged in Lesotho continuously since the 2012 elections, undertaking election observation and a scoping exercise on coalition governance.
Commonwealth Secretariat support to the country included a study tour to New Zealand by a group led by Deputy Prime Minister Metsing, and including other parliamentarians, senior public servants, parliamentary officials, political party representatives, and the clergy. The delegation examined New Zealand’s mixed member proportional system, its governance arrangements and its independent public service.