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Lesotho goes to the polls in tense, open election

Jerome Delay / AP

A Lesotho man walks to the polling station at the Mpho primary school in Maseru, Lesotho, May 26.

Voters in the highland African kingdom of Lesotho go to the polls on Saturday in a wide-open election that analysts say could end up without a clear result, as happened in 1998 when South Africa had to send in troops to quell major civil unrest.

Campaigning has been peaceful but a lack of opinion polls, and Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili's decision in February to quit the ruling party and go it alone under the banner of the new Democratic Congress (DC) party, have kept the landlocked nation's two million people on tenterhooks.

-- Reported by Ed Cropley of Reuters

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Jerome Delay / AP

Lesotho voters wait outside a polling station in the Machache district of Lesotho, May 26.

Jerome Delay / AP

Voters wait outside a polling station in the Machache district of Lesotho, some 40 miles east of the capital Maseru, Lesotho, May 26.

Alexander Joe / AFP - Getty Images

A Basotho man casts his vote at a polling station outside Maseru. Polls opened in tiny Lesotho, where a series of party splits have resulted in three former allies fighting the closest general election since independence. Polls opened at 7:00am for 10 hours of voting in this mountainous kingdom where many people walked or rode horses on the cold, early winter morning to reach voting stations in schools and churches.

Jerome Delay / AP

Lesotho political party observers witness voters at the Mpho primary school in Maseru, Lesotho, May 26.