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Low voter turnout taints Kenya's election re-run

Friday, October 27, 2017 - 01:48

Results of Kenya's presidential election re-run began to trickle in on Friday with early estimates of the turnout at below 35 percent, dealing a blow to President Uhuru Kenyatta's hopes for a decisive second-term mandate. Scarlett Cvitanovich reports.

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Results from Kenya's presidential election rerun began to trickle in on Friday (October 27) and early estimates have the turnout at below 35 percent. A significant drop from the first election in August when 80 percent of eligible voters took part. It appears nearly all the followers of opposition leader Raila Odinga heeded the veteran's call for a boycott. And that deals a blow to President Uhuru Kenyatta's hopes for a decisive second-term mandate, raising questions over his ability to unite the east African country, whose deep ethnic divisions have been exposed during a chaotic election process stretched over the last three months. Voting on Thursday (October 26) was marred by skirmishes between police and stone-throwing opposition supporters, who prevented polling stations from opening in four pro-Odinga counties, forcing election officials to postpone voting until Saturday (October 28). In a Nairobi slum, protesters delayed polling stations opening and clashes broke out with youths throwing stones and police firing tear gas for hours. Constituency returning officer Beatrice Muli says all stations eventually opened (SOUNDBITE) (English) RETURNING OFFICER FOR KIBERA CONSTITUENCY, BEATRICE MULI, SAYING: "But we have also witnessed a lot of zero turnout in those stations, there was zero turnout of voters. The stations were opened, yes, but the voters did not show up." Scenes like this had been feared since August's annulled election, which saw some 50 people killed in a chaotic aftermath. Odinga refused to take part in this second attempt over failings to replace election officials. That hands a definite victory to Kenyatta. But the new vote is expected to face further legal challenges. Meaning it's possible the country will be ordered to hold yet another re-run.

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Low voter turnout taints Kenya's election re-run

Friday, October 27, 2017 - 01:48