The Electoral Process and the 2007 Snap Elections in Lesotho

  • F Likoti National University of Lesotho

Abstract

Anthony Downs (1957), in his celebrated work, ‘An Economic Theory of Democracy’, argued, that parties were political firms in business of selling packages of policies in order to maximise votes so as to be able to win and enjoy the fruits of government office. While on the other hand voters were political consumers, using their votes as political currency to purchase the public policies on offer at a general election. These voters were not tied to any party but they were rational, maximising, free-thinking and were determined to gain maximum return by voting for a party of their choice. These voters elect a party that offered them the best policy package at the lowest tax cost. As it will become clear in this paper, most of the rural voters from 61 constituencies out of a total of 80 in 2007 Lesotho election, elected Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) probably on the basis of Downs’ observations above. LCD popularised free education and a pension scheme policies for the elderly who had never been employed before. The task of this paper is to evaluate this perception in relation to the rational choice theory. The paper will also assess the rational choice model in line with the above description to ascertain whether the LCD, a party that has been winning elections in Lesotho from 1998 to 2007 has been voted on the basis of this model. The paper does not claim that rational choice model will provide a definitive answer to this project, but it will attempt to analyse patterns that may appear to reflect some similarities with the model. However, this would not mean that, by testing this model on LCD policies, the model is beyond criticism since rational model is noted for its complexities when applied to empirical cases.
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eISSN: 1024-4190