Lesotho profile - Leaders

  • 19 March 2015
  • From the section Africa

Head of state: King Letsie III

Lesotho's King Letsie
Image caption King Letsie

King Letsie III succeeded his father, King Moshoeshoe, who was dethroned in 1990.

Five years later, after the return to civilian government and amid political instability, he abdicated and his father was reinstated as monarch.

Letsie III was restored as king in 1996 after his father died in a car accident. The monarch has no legislative or executive powers.

Prime minister: Pakalitha Mosisili

Pakalitha Mosisili heads a coalition government formed after early elections held in February 2015.

The elections were brought forward by nearly two years after the previous prime minister Thomas Thabane briefly fled to South Africa in August 2014, alleging a coup. South Africa was involved in mediating during the crisis.

Mr Mosisili's Democratic Congress (DC) ousted former premier Thabane's All Basotho Congress (ABC) by uniting with smaller parties, forming Lesotho's second consecutive coalition government after the election produced no clear winner.

Analysts were sceptical about the chances of stability in the small landlocked country of 2 million people which has been hit by several coups since independence from Britain in 1966.

"Lesotho is headed for a political train smash - it is just a matter of when," Gary van Staden, analyst at NKC Economists, said. "Squabbling parties are fighting for position and power ... Amid all of this there are ominous signs that the military is twitching."

Mr Mosisili is a former university lecturer. He entered politics in 1993 after the end of military rule.

He became prime minister in 1998 and held the post until his resignation in 2012.