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Parliament to be dissolved ahead of elections
4 December 2014

Parliament will be dissolved on Friday to prepare for elections in February, it was announced on Wednesday.

The news came after the ninth visit to the kingdom by South African Deputy President Cyril , who is also a facilitator appointed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Ramaphosa met with Lesotho King Letsie III, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and other key stakeholders involved in the political crisis in the kingdom.

As a result of the visit, all stakeholders agreed to dissolve Parliament on Friday.

The Gazette dissolving Parliament is out, Thabane confirmed.

"The Gazette is official, the date has been set, and it will be announced by the king," said Thabane.

The Lesotho cabinet reportedly has approved a 200-million-rand (about 18-million-U.S.-dollar) budget for the elections.

Ramaphosa started his two-day visit to Lesotho on Monday, with the aim of helping create peace and stability in the kingdom.

Since appointed as facilitator following an abortive coup in Lesotho in late August, Ramaphosa has been trying to create a climate conducive for the holding of the elections scheduled for February 2015 on a date to be set by King Letsie III.

The king is expected to announce the specific date of the elections on Friday, according to Thabane.

The decision to hold early elections arose from decisions by SADC Heads of State and Government summits held earlier this year with a view to help return Lesotho political normalcy and stabilization of the security situation.

This was ratified by all Lesotho's political parties who signed the Maseru Facilitation Declaration facilitated by the SADC Observer Mission led by Ramaphosa.

Pushed by the mission, substantive progress has been made with the signing of both the Maseru Facilitation Declaration and the Maseru Security Accord.

These resulted in the reconvening of parliament in October 2014, the dissolvement of parliament in December 2014, the agreement to hold elections in February 2015.

Lesotho has been in political turmoil since June when Thabane suspended Parliament to avoid a vote of no confidence that was being pushed by his coalition government partners.
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