(Bloomberg) -- Elections in Lesotho are unlikely to stabilize politics in the mountain kingdom, with another governing coalition expected to be the outcome of Friday’s vote, Oxford Economics Africa said.

Residents of the mountain kingdom headed to polling stations from 7 a.m. to elect a new 120-seat parliament, with representatives from four main political parties on the ballot. 

A country of more than two million people, Lesotho has been led by the All Basotho Convention since 2017 after the party beat the Democratic Congress. It has had two prime ministers in the past five years and the ABC has been riven by divisions, exacerbated by a party vote in February in which former Health Minister Nkaku Kabi was elected as leader, defeating Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro for the role.

“The best hope of a stable government will be either the ABC or DC getting a majority in parliament -- an unlikely outcome -- or at least a near-majority, which will see them govern in partnership with a small number of parties,” Oxford Economics Africa Senior Political Analyst Louw Nel said in a research note. “No party is expected to earn a majority in the house. Another impermanent governing coalition is the most likely outcome.”

Lesotho is an important source of fresh water for South Africa, which surrounds the mountain kingdom. Opposition riots in 1998 prompted South Africa to deploy troops to restore order, while in 2014, then-Prime Minister Thomas Thabane temporarily fled the country after accusing the military of overthrowing him. He stepped down in 2020 after being implicated in the murder of his ex-wife.


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