Lesotho - Government

According to the 1993 constitution, the Kingdom of Lesotho is a monarchy with a bicameral parliament consisting of a National Assembly of 120 members—80 elected by direct popular vote and 40 by proportional vote—for five-year terms, and a Senate consisting of 33 members—22 chiefs and 11 others appointed by the ruling party.

Until 1993 the king was official chief of state (motlotlehi), and was designated by the College of Chiefs, according to Basotho custom. The prime minister (head of government) was appointed by the king and was a member of the majority party in the National Assembly. The cabinet was also appointed by the king, in accordance with advice of the prime minister, from among members of both houses of parliament.

Under the 1993 constitution the monarch has become a figurehead, a "living symbol of national unity" with no executive or legislative powers. He still is selected by traditional law and the College of Chiefs, which holds the power to determine who is next in the line of succession, and who shall serve as regent in the event that the successor is a minor. The College also may depose the monarch.

The leader of the majority party in the Assembly automatically becomes prime minister. Since 1998, the prime minister has been Pakalitha Mosisili, the leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD).

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