Kenya passes con­tro­ver­sial elec­tion law amend­ment

Iran Daily - - International -

The Kenyan Par­lia­ment passed an amend­ment on Wednesday to the coun­try’s elec­tion laws, say­ing that if one can­di­date with­draws from a re­peat pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, the other one would au­to­mat­i­cally win.

The amend­ment was heav­ily crit­i­cized by the op­po­si­tion, whose leg­is­la­tors boy­cotted the vote, ac­cord­ing to Reuters.

Op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga with­drew from a re­peat pres­i­den­tial vote sched­uled for October 26 on Tues­day, cit­ing con­cerns over fair­ness and trans­parency. The law must now be signed by the pres­i­dent.

Odinga said his with­drawal would give the elec­toral com­mis­sion enough time to in­tro­duce re­forms that will help de­liver a more cred­i­ble elec­tion, BBC wrote.

The Supreme Court annulled the re­sult of the orig­i­nal Au­gust 8 poll, which saw Uhuru Keny­atta de­clared win­ner, af­ter find­ing ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties.

But Keny­atta says he is ready to pro­ceed with the new vote as planned.

The coun­try’s elec­toral com­mis­sion said Keny­atta had won the Au­gust vote by a mar­gin of 1.4 mil­lion votes or 54 per­cent of the to­tal, com­pared to Odinga’s 44 per­cent.

The elec­tion re-run was due to take place on Oc­to­ber26, but Odinga said on Tues­day: “We have come to the con­clu­sion that there is no in­ten­tion on the part of the IEBC [elec­toral com­mis­sion] to un­der­take any changes to its op­er­a­tions and per­son­nel... All in­di­ca­tions are that the elec­tion sched­uled for October 26will be worse than the pre­vi­ous one.”

As a re­sult, he said, “con­sid­er­ing the in­ter­ests of the peo­ple of Kenya, the re­gion and the world at large” it was best that he with­drew from the race.

Odinga’s coali­tion party be­lieves the elec­tion will have to be can­celled as a re­sult of his with­drawal, al­low­ing “ad­e­quate time to un­der­take the re­forms nec­es­sary to con­duct an elec­tion that is in strict con­form­ity with the con­sti­tu­tion, the rel­e­vant laws and the con­sti­tu­tion”.

But Keny­atta, speak­ing at a rally in the south­ern town of Voi, said: “We have no prob­lem go­ing back to elec­tions. We are sure we will get more votes than the last time.”

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