Lesotho’s Senate has passed constitutional amendments seeking to curb the prime minister’s power to dissolve Parliament and call for a fresh election. The move by the legislative body on Tuesday came as Prime Minister Thomas Thabane faces mounting pressure to resign from his p In March, he suspended the Parliament for three months shortly after the lower house National Assembly passed a bill barring him from calling fresh elections if he loses a looming no-confidence vote.
However, the country’s constitutional court last week overturned his decision, bringing closer the possibility of a no-confidence vote. A day later, on April 18, Thabane sent troops onto the streets of the capital, Maseru, to “restore order”, accusing unnamed law enforcement agencies of undermining democracy. The army withdrew the following day. Many analysts have predicted that Thabane’s next move would be to advise King Letsie III to dissolve Parliament, which the law allows. But the latest constitutional amendments prohibit current and future prime ministers from advising the king to dissolve Parliament unless a majority of legislators support the move.
The new amendments passed by the 33-member Senate seek to limit the power of prime ministers while giving Parliament a more meaningful role in its own dissolution.