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DATE=11/12/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=LESOTHO / AGREEMENT (L ONLY) NUMBER=2-256093 BYLINE=ALEX BELIDA DATELINE=JOHANNESBURG CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: An agreement paving the way for new elections under a new electoral system is expected to be signed in the Southern African country of Lesotho this coming week (Tuesday 11/16). V-O-A Southern Africa Correspondent Alex Belida reports the accord is designed to end a political crisis that led last year to civil unrest and eventual military intervention by neighboring countries. TEXT: Trouble broke out in Lesotho last year after elections in which the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy party took all but one of the 80 seats in Parliament. Opposition parties rejected the results, claiming the voting was rigged. Civil disturbances coupled with a mutiny in Lesotho's military eventually led the country's government to appeal for outside help. Troops from South Africa and Botswana intervened to restore order, triggering bloodshed and widespread property destruction. International observers said the 1998 election was generally free and fair. They said the lopsided outcome was the result of Lesotho's use of a constituency-based, "first-past-the-post" (winner take all) system. Now a political agreement has been worked out for fresh elections under a new electoral system -- one intended to give smaller parties a greater chance of winning a place in Lesotho's Parliament. Under the accord, the mountain kingdom, surrounded entirely by South Africa, will have a mixed electoral model. There will be 130 seats in the new Parliament: 80 allocated on the old "first-past-the-post" system and 50 chosen on the basis of proportional representation (parties represented on the basis of percentage of popular vote won). Outgoing Commonwealth Secretary-General Emeka Anyaouko told reporters at the Commonwealth summit meeting in Durban about the agreement between the parties represented on Lesotho's Interim Political Authority or I-P-A. /// ANYAOUKO ACTUALITY ONE /// In Lesotho, my special envoy has been there and has succeeded in negotiating an agreement between the government and the I-P-A which involves all the opposition parties and that agreement is intended to resolve the political impasse which has existed in Lesotho since the last elections. /// END ACTUALITY /// Mr. Anyaouko says there were plans to sign the agreement earlier this month. But he says regional leaders could not attend. He says the signing ceremony has been rescheduled for Tuesday -- the day after the Commonwealth summit ends. /// OPT // ANYAOUKO ACTUALITY TWO /// Yes, that agreement was due to be signed this last Friday, but unfortunately the other heads of government who need to be present at the signing of the agreement could not be there. We are now seeking for the agreement to be signed this coming Tuesday. That is the day immediately after CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting). I hope to be there in Lesotho for the signing of the agreement and I hope at least two other heads of government from this region, from the SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) region, will be there and three or four of us will be the moral guarantors of that agreement. /// END OPT ACTUALITY /// It is not clear which regional leaders will attend. But South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe have all been involved in the effort to restore political stability in Lesotho. (Signed) NEB/BEL/JWH/JBM 12-Nov-1999 11:57 AM EDT (12-Nov-1999 1657 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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