Lesotho poll lead

The Basotoland Congress Party (BCP) was sweeping to victory yesterday in Lesotho's first elections in 23 years as the army prepared to hand over power to a democratically elected government, AFP reports from Maseru. By last night all 11 constituencies declared so far out of 64 had gone to the BCP, with polling between 53 and 83 per cent in its favour. The rival army-backed Basotoland National Party (BNP) condemned the elections as unfair but international monitors said they had been 'free and fair'.

Up to 80 per cent of Lesotho's 700,000 electorate voted on Saturday. Lesotho has been ruled by a military government since 1986 when the army ousted Lebua Jonathan of the BNP. He in turn had snatched victory away from the BCP in a 1970 election when his rival looked set to win.