February 5, 2002

SADC delegation in Maseru for talks on election

A ministerial delegation from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) visited Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, on Monday, February 4, to hold talks with Lesotho officials on the country's next general election. The delegation is made up of foreign ministers from South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique.

A statement issued by the South African Department of Foreign Affairs said that the meeting would "determine the progress made towards the election scheduled to take place in April/May 2002, and will offer encouragement and support to ensure the successful outcome of these elections". It added that the delegation would meet with "relevant stakeholders" in Lesotho, including the government, the Interim Political Authority and the Independent Electoral Commission.

Meanwhile, diplomatic sources in Maseru said that it was "generally" expected that the current sitting of parliament would be dissolved later this month. "In terms of the election regulations, parliament has to be dissolved at least 90 days before the election date, and if we are looking at a date in May then parliament has to be dissolved this month," the diplomat said. "Most people in Lesotho are hoping that an exact date is to be announced when parliament dissolves." (IRIN)

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