1970 Lesotho general election

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General elections were held in Lesotho on 27 and 28 January 1970, the first since independence in 1966. They were won by the opposition Basutoland Congress Party,[1] but without announcing the results, the ruling Basotho National Party carried out a coup d'état by declaring a state of emergency, annulling the election, dissolving parliament and suspending the constitution.[2] King Moshoeshoe II was sent into exile after expressing disapproval of the actions.[2]

Leabua Jonathan then dictated the country until 1986 when a military coup d'état led by Major General Justin Lekhanya deposed him. Lesotho was not returned to democratic rule until the 1993 elections, which were again won by the BCP in a landslide victory.


Official results were never published, but figures were made available by election observers.[3]

Basutoland Congress Party152,90749.8836+11
Basotho National Party129,43442.2323–8
Marematlou Freedom Party22,2797.271–3
United Democratic Party3450.110New
Communist Party of Lesotho680.0200
Source: Macartney


  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen, Michael Krennerich & Bernhard Thibaut (1999) Elections in Africa: A data handbook, p. 502. ISBN 0-19-829645-2
  2. ^ a b Lesotho: Authoritarian rule, 1970-1991 EISA
  3. ^ Nohlen et al., p501