Mediator says Lesotho to hold early elections in February 2015 in bid to end political tension

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A mediator says the southern African country of Lesotho will reconvene parliament this month and hold early elections in February 2015 in an effort to resolve political tension.

Elections had previously been scheduled for 2017.

Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa's deputy president, also appealed to Lesotho's security forces to stay out of politics. Ramaphosa spoke Thursday in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, after holding talks with political factions in the mountain kingdom.

Thomas Thabane, the prime minister of Lesotho, suspended parliament in June to avoid a vote of no-confidence in his coalition government. He then fled to South Africa, alleging he was the target of a coup attempt, and later returned under the protection of South African forces.