Gender Quotas Database

Country Data



Lesotho (Kingdom of Lesotho)

Lesotho (Kingdom of Lesotho) has a Bicameral parliament with legislated quotas for the single/lower house and at the sub-national level. 32 of 121 (26%) seats in the National Assembly are held by women.

At a glance

Structure of Parliament: Bicameral

Are there legislated quotas...

  • For the Single/Lower House? Yes
  • For the Upper House? No
  • For the Sub-National Level? Yes

Are there voluntary quotas...

  • Adopted by political parties? No

Is there additional information?...

  • Yes

Last updated: Jan 19, 2023

Single/Lower House

National Assembly

Total seats 121
Total Women 32
% Women 26%
Election Year 2022
Electoral System MMP
Quota Type Legislated Candidate Quotas
Election details IDEA Voter Turnout - IPU Parline
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas Constitution  
Electoral law The National Assembly has 120 seats. Its members are elected using the mixed member proportional system: 80 in single-member constituencies using the first-past-the-post system and 40 from 1 national constituency using Party-list proportional representation. Proportional representation seats are allocated to compensate parties for the discrepancy between percentage of votes obtained and percentage of constituency seats won. Section 47 (2: b & c) of the National Assembly Election Amendment Act of 2011, introduced the rule for the proportional contest whereby a political party shall ‘arrange the candidates in order of preference from top to bottom, with a female or male candidate immediately followed by a candidate of the opposite sex; and include equal numbers of women and men’.
Legal sanctions for non-compliance No None
Rank order/placement rules Electoral law

Political parties shall ‘arrange the candidates in order of preference from top to bottom, with a female or male candidate immediately followed by a candidate of the opposite sex’ (National Assembly Election Amendment Act of 2011, Section 47 (2:b)).

Is the provision of direct public funding to political parties related to gender equality among candidates? No  
See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database
Are there provisions for other financial advantages to encourage gender equality in political parties? No  
See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database

Quota at the Sub-National Level

  • Quota type: Reserved seats
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Reserved seats Constitution  
Electoral law

According to the Local Government Elections Act as amended in 2011, 30% of the total number of seats in municipal, urban and community councils are reserved for women and are distributed proportionally among the parties.

Legal sanctions for non-compliance N/A Not applicable
Rank order/placement rules N/A Not applicable

Additional Information

In 2005, the Lesotho Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from an aspirant male ward councillor to declare the reservation of one-third of the local government seats for women as unconstitutional. The councillor argued that the all-women constituencies violated his constitutional right to contest the elections in a constituency of his choice. The Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the High Court’s ruling. It held that the amendment which provided for a temporary and rotating quota of electoral divisions reserved for women was indeed reasonably justifiable in Lesotho’s circumstances. They agreed with what Justice Peete in the High Court described as ‘an undisputable fact … that women in our society have long stood disadvantaged and marginalised socially, economically and even politically.’

Unhappy with this decision, political parties lobbied the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to initiate an amendment to the 2005 law. Thus, the Local Government Elections Act was amended ahead of the 2011 local government elections. The new system revoked the system of reserved seats at the constituency level and introduced the system of 30 per cent seats reserved for women, distributed between parties on a proportional representation basis (‘M’a-Tlali Mapetla 2009).

Additional reading

Additional reading

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