By Baron Henri Estramant.
The Re-opening of Lesotho’s Parliament on Friday, 17 October 2014 by the country’s monarch Letsie III is being hailed as a victory for the democratic stability and internal security of the kingdom after an alleged attempt of a coup d’état against Prime Minister Thomas Thabane. The PM fled the country “fearing for his life” back at the end of August 2014. PM Thabane left after the army mobilised close to government edifices without inform him.
The bicameral Parliament was re-opened after a “Speech from the Throne” was delivered by the country’s monarch, who is the ceremonial Head of State.
The Re-opening of Parliament in Maseru was attended by South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa who is credited with reconciling squabbling politicians in the mountainous kingdom. The re-opening of the parliamentary session is considered particularly important in order to preserve the rule of law in Lesotho which has gone through several coup d’états in the past.
Another Westminster-inspired system, that of New Zealand, also saw the opening of its 51st parliament on 21 October 2014. In New Zealand, the “Speech from the Throne” is delivered by the Personal Representative of the realm’s Sovereign, the “Governor-General of New Zealand”. Like in Lesotho the speech is actually an outline of the government’s intentions and plans for the new legislature.
Both the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Realm of New Zealand are among the 53-members of the Commonwealth of Nations. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is a separate legal entity as New Zealand’s Head of State (i.e. “Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of New Zealand and Her Other Realms and Territories…“) whereas Lesotho has its own constitutional monarch, His Majesty King Letsie III of the Royal House of Moshesh.
In New Zealand the daily functions of the monarch are carried out by a Governor-General serving as the Sovereign’s Personal Representative. The incumbent being HE Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Jeremiah Mateparae, 20th Governor-General since 31 August 2011.