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Lesotho Government Profile 2017

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Country nameconventional long form: Kingdom of Lesotho
conventional short form: Lesotho
local long form: Kingdom of Lesotho
local short form: Lesotho
former: Basutoland
etymology: the name translates as "Land of the Sesotho Speakers"
Government typeparliamentary constitutional monarchy
Capitalname: Maseru
geographic coordinates: 29 19 S, 27 29 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions10 districts; Berea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng, Maseru, Mohale's Hoek, Mokhotlong, Qacha's Nek, Quthing, Thaba-Tseka
Independence4 October 1966 (from the UK)
National holidayIndependence Day, 4 October (1966)
Constitutionprevious 1959, 1967; latest adopted 2 April 1993 (effectively restoring the 1967 version); amended several times, last in 2011 (2016)
Legal systemmixed 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 participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: yes
citizenship by descent: yes
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief 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 Motsoahae Thomas THABANE (since 16 June 2017)
cabinet: consists of the Prime Minister, appointed by the King on the advice of the Council of State, and 25 other Ministers
elections/appointments: 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, to determine next in line of succession, or to serve as regent in the event that a successor is not of mature age; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition in the Assembly automatically becomes prime minister
Legislative branchdescription: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (33 seats; 22 principal chiefs and 11 other senators nominated by the king with the advice of the Council of State, a 13-member body of key government and non-government officials; members serve 5-year terms) and the National Assembly (120 seats; 80 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 40 elected through proportional representation; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 3 June 2017 (next to be held in 2022)
election results: National Assembly - percent of votes by party - ABC 40.5%, DC 25.8%, LCD 9.0%, AD 7.3%, MEC 5.1%, BNP 4.1, PFD 2.3%, other 5.9%; seats by party - ABC 48, DC 30, LCD 11, AD 9, MEC 6, BNP 5, PFD 3, other 5, vacant 3
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president, such number of justices of appeal as set by Parliament, and the Chief Justice and the puisne judges of the High Court ex officio); High Court (consists of the chief justice and such number of puisne judges as set by Parliament); note - both the Court of Appeal and the High Court have jurisdiction in constitutional issues
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal president and High Court chief justice appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister; puisne judges appointed by the monarch on advice of the Judicial Service Commission, an independent body of judicial officers and officials designated by the monarch; judges of both courts can serve until age 75
subordinate courts: Magistrate Courts; customary or traditional courts; military courts
Political parties and leadersAll Basotho Convention or ABC [Motsoahae Thomas THABANE]
Alliance of Democrats or AD [Monyane MOLELEKI]
Basotho Congress Party or BCP [Thulo MAHLAKENG]
Basotho National Party or BNP [Thesele MASERIBANE]
Democratic Congress or DC [Pakalitha MOSISILI]
Lesotho Congress for Democracy or LCD [Mothetjoa METSING]
Lesotho Peoples Congress or LPC [Molahlehi LETLOTLO]
Marematlou Freedom Party or MFP [Moeketse MALEBO]
Movement of Economic Change or MEC [Selibe MOCHOBOROANE]
National Independent Party or NIP [Kimetso MATHABA]
Popular Front for Democracy of PFD [Lekhetho RAKUOANE]
Reformed Congress of Lesotho or RCL [Keketso RANTSO]
Truth Reconciliation Unity or TRU [Tlali KHASU]
Political pressure groups and leadersMedia Institute of Southern Africa, Lesotho chapter [Tsebo MAT�ASA] (pushes for media freedom)
International organization participationACP, AfDB, AU, C, CD, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, 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 (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Eliachim Molapi SEBATANE (since 2 November 2011)
chancery: 2511 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 797-5533
FAX: [1] (202) 234-6815
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Matthew T. HARRINGTON (since October 2014)
embassy: 254 Kingsway Road, Maseru West (Consular Section)
mailing address: P.O. Box 333, Maseru 100, Lesotho
telephone: [266] 22 312 666
FAX: [266] 22 310 116
Flag descriptionthree 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)mokorotio (Basotho hat); national colors: blue, white, green, black
National anthemname: "Lesotho fatse la bo ntat'a rona" (Lesotho, Land of Our Fathers)
lyrics/music: Francois COILLARD/Ferdinand-Samuel LAUR
note: adopted 1967; music derives from an 1823 Swiss songbook

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on July 9, 2017

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