AT LEAST THREE MONTHS NEEDED TO HOLD ELECTIONS IN LESOTHO

Lsotho’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says three months is the shortest time that it has ever had to prepare for elections and it needs the budget and relaxation of procurement requirements to be approved soon, but is determined to make the country’s next legislative elections scheduled for June 3 a success.

The Mountain Kingdom is going to the polls after a motion of no confidence in the Prime Ministerwas passed in the legislative assembly.

The IEC has published its elections timetable saying it has to redouble its efforts. Lesotho’s June 3 election will be its third in five years. The last two elections also took place prematurely.

In 2012, it was two months early. In 2015, it was two years early but at least the IEC had five months to prepare. This time elections are three years early.

“With this one it’s different than the rest because it came after a vote of no confidence. We don’t have the laxity of five months. We are strictly on the three-month period. We have made our preparations, the director is pulling staff to understand that it has to succeed and we are trying we hope it’s going to succeed; there’ll be hiccups, but it has to succeed,” said deputy director of elections Mphasa Mokhochane.

The biggest challenge is that June is the middle of the (Southern hemisphere) winter in a country prone to snow. Voters have less than a week to ensure they are on the voters’ roll with registration closing this Sunday.

Political parties will have only two days to submit their candidates in April. The High Court will have two days to hear objections.

The IEC needs procurement requirements to be relaxed. “Procurement procedures normally require a month for advertising and some cooling off periods, but with only 90 days we don’t have that time we have written a letter requesting relaxation of procurement,” said Director of Elections Dr Letholetseng Ntsike.

“The IEC premises will be a hive of activity for the next three months with registration of voters and candidates and general logistics. But the next few days will be crucial for approval of the budget and relaxation of procurement procedures to ensure and election that will be not only free and fair, but also credible.”

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK