WITHIN a week’s time, the High Court will decide whether or not the Democratic Congress (DC) and Alliance of Democrats (AD) will be stripped of a combined four proportional representation (PR) seats they garnered following the October 2022 general elections won by the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP).
March 28, 2023
3 min read
DC, AD await ruling over PR seats
DC leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu
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This, after the court sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, revealed that it would in two weeks’ time deliver judgment on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)’s self-review case.
The matter continues before Justices; Realeboha Mathaba, Keketso Moahloli, and Fumane Khabo.
After the October elections, the IEC confessed to making blunders in the allocation of the PR seats.
The IEC, therefore, wanted the DC and AD to be stripped of their three and one PR seats respectively.
The body argued that the four seats were supposed to have been allocated to the Basotho Patriotic Party (BPP), Basotho National Party (BNP), United for Change (UFC), and Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC).
The IEC, consequently approached the Constitutional Court, pleading to be given a chance to rectify its mistakes.
The body was, however, warned that it had knocked on the wrong door as per the Electoral Act and that it was supposed to have approached the Court of Disputed Returns.
IEC is represented by Advocate Kabelo Letuka, while Advocate Christopher Lephuthing appears for the BNP, UFC, BPP, and LPC with the DC represented by King’s Counsel (KC) Motiea Teele.
The Mathibeli Mokhothu-led DC contends in its court papers that the IEC did not make any mistake in its allocation of seats.
As per schedule 3, section 3(i) of the National Assembly Electoral Act, after the IEC announces election results, if it finds out that it has made an error, such a mistake can only be rectified by approaching the Court of Disputed Returns for the hearing of the matter as a trial.
If need be, witnesses might be called to testify.
The seats are allocated in two ways as per the Electoral Act.
Firstly to get a quota, IEC looks at the total number of votes divided by the total number of Parliamentary seats but with the previous elections, it used 119 as the Stadium Area constituency did not contest the elections.
The IEC then divides the total number of votes per party by the quota.
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The law further states that if a party wins more constituency seats than the number of PR seats or if it matches the number of its PR seats, such a party will not get any PR seats.
The IEC had allocated 11 PR seats to the DC and three seats to the AD.
The DC had won 18 of the 79 constituency seats while the AD had won only two constituency seats in the October elections.
With a total of five seats, the AD led by Monyane Moleleki formed the ruling coalition government with Prime Minister Ntsokoane Matekane’s RFP which had won 57 constituency seats.
The two formed the government with another party, the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) of Selibe Mochoboroane who is the Minister of Health.
The MEC had a total of four seats.