Maseru -Thousands of Basotho voted on Friday in parliamentary elections seen as a three-horse race between the country’s three most popular parties.
Voting commenced at 7am local time (0500 GMT) and is expected to close at 7pm.
According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), more than one million Basotho are registered to vote in the elections.
Representatives in the 120-member National Assembly are elected by direct popular vote using the mixed member proportional system.
Under this system, 80 parliamentarians in single-member constituencies are chosen using the first-past-the-post system. while the remaining 40 are elected from one national constituency using party-list proportional representation.
A total of 65 political parties are contesting the general elections, with the three main antagonists being the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) led by health minister Nkaku Kabi; the Democratic Congress headed by outgoing deputy prime minister Mathibeli Mokhothu and the newly established Revolution for Prosperity led by Sam Matekane.
The party with a parliamentary majority will select the prime minister and form the next government.
Experts are, however, expecting the formation of a coalition government amid the high likelihood of a hung parliament, given the large number of contesting parties.
Friday’s election went ahead despite a deadlock in parliament on a raft of constitutional reforms that were meant to be enacted ahead of the vote to bring order to Lesotho’s fractious politics.
Lesotho has seen four military coups since independence from Britain in 1966 and has had three elections between 2012 and 2017.