Raila Odinga in the lead in the presidential race in Kenya: first results | Political news
Partial official results show the veteran opposition leader is slightly ahead in the Kenyan presidential race.
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga is leading the presidential race, according to partial official results, as the country remains awaiting the final election results.
With just over 26% of the vote counted, Odinga had 54% and his main rival – Vice President William Ruto – had 45%, results provided by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) showed on Saturday. .
The election, held on Tuesday, is being closely watched as a test of stability in Kenya, which is one of East Africa’s wealthiest countries and its most vibrant democracy.
Past votes in the country have been marred by rigging and deadly violence.
Odinga and Ruto are in a close race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has reached his two-term limit. Kenyatta endorsed Odinga after falling out with Ruto after the last election.
The official vote count is progressing slowly, increasing public anxiety.
IEBC President Wafula Chebukati blamed party agents, who are allowed to review results forms before they are added to the final tally.
“The officers in this exercise can’t continue…like we’re doing a forensic audit,” he said at a news conference on Friday.
“We are not moving as fast as we should. This exercise should be concluded as soon as possible.
Representatives of Odinga’s and Ruto’s coalitions did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The two favorites have pledged to ensure calm once the result is known, with Kenyans still haunted by the deadly violence that followed the 2017 and 2007 elections.
More than 1,200 people were killed after the disputed 2007 elections and more than 100 were killed after the 2017 elections.
In a bid for transparency, the electoral commission – which has come under scathing criticism for its handling of the August 2017 canceled polls – has posted documents showing the results from each polling station on its website.
The Reuters news agency and other media compiled the results forms for 291 constituencies posted online.
As of 21:00 GMT on Saturday, Reuters had tallied 241 forms, which showed Ruto leading with nearly 52.3% of the vote, compared to 47% for Odinga. Two other candidates had less than 1% between them.
Reuters said 30 forms could not be included in the tally because they were illegible or lacked information such as signatures, constituency names or totals.
Forms compiled by Reuters were preliminary and results subject to change. Once the forms are uploaded to the IEBC website, Kenyan electoral law requires that they be physically taken to the national counting center, where party representatives can examine them for any discrepancies.
The process was designed as a safeguard against the kind of rigging allegations that sparked violence after previous polls.
The commission has until Tuesday to declare a winner.
The winning candidate must receive 50 percent of the national vote plus one, and at least 25 percent of the vote from 24 of the 47 counties.
With the race so close, observers say a Supreme Court appeal by the losing candidate is all but certain, meaning it could be several weeks before a new president takes office.