Lesotho tycoon forges coalition after poll breakthrough
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A diamond millionaire who scored a stunning breakthrough in nationwide elections in Lesotho last week announced Tuesday that he would head a three-party coalition government.
Tycoon Sam Matekane confounded expectations that the southern African mountain kingdom would remain politically gridlocked after last Friday's ballot.
His pro-business Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) party, founded just six months ago, picked up 56 seats in the legislature -- five seats short of an absolute majority.
At a press conference, Matekane said the RFP had formed a coalition government with the Alliance of Democrats (AD) and Movement for Economic Change (MEC).
"The leaders of RFP, AD and MEC inform the Basotho nation that we have agreed to form a new coalition government following the announcement of the general election results," Matekane, 64, said.
Matekane was flanked by AD deputy leader Ntoi Rapapa and MEC leader Selibe Mochoboroane as he made the announcement at a hotel in the capital Maseru.
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The AD won six seats in the elections, and MEC five.
Outside, supporters of the parties dressed in their party colours sang and chanted slogans, as car drivers hooted their backing.
A constitutional monarchy entirely surrounded by South Africa on which it depends economically, Lesotho has been governed by a string of rickety coalition governments for the past decade.
The outgoing parliament failed to pass a law aimed at strengthening political stability.
The bill would ban lawmakers from switching party allegiance within the first three years of their tenure.
The Matekane-led government promises that pushing through this reform will be part of its agenda in its first 100 days in office.