The ruling All Basotho Convention, in power since 2017, has been unable to push through significant constitutional changes in parliament.
Lesotho will hold parliamentary elections on Friday, amid failures by its politicians to pass constitutional reforms meant to end years of political instability in the mountainous southern African kingdom.
The All Basotho Convention (ABC) has ruled the country since 2017, but divisions within the party have led to two prime ministers in five years. One of them, Thomas Thabane, resigned in 2020 after being accused of murdering his ex-wife.
He denied any wrongdoing and the the charges were later dropped.
His successor, Prime Minister Moeketsi Majorodeclared a state of emergency in August after lawmakers failed to pass two bills intended to end political instability in parliament.
Last month, Lesotho’s highest court ruled the declaration unconstitutional.
The ABC picked another leader, former health minister Nkaku Kabi, to challenge the ticket, after beating Majoro in a party vote in February.
The proposed constitutional reforms would have changed everything from the role of political parties to rules on changing floors in parliament, the appointment of senior civil servants and the role of the prime minister.
The aim was to make Lesotho less prone to political blockages in the event of disagreement. But lawmakers failed to agree on them in August.
Lesotho has experienced four military coups since its independence from Britain in 1966.
In 2014, gunshots were heard in Maseru and then-Prime Minister Thabane temporarily fled the country, blaming the military for overthrowing him, forcing South Africa to mediation to restore order and allow his return.
Opposition riots in the capital Maseru in 1998 prompted South Africa to deploy troops to restore order.
Surrounded on all sides by a South African mountain range, Lesotho’s lakes and cool springs are a vital source of fresh water for its larger neighbour, supplying the taps of its commercial capital, Johannesburg.