Kenya politics: Quick View - Official start of election campaign

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Country Data and Maps
Economist Intelligence Unit
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Politics, News Analysis
Political Geography


Official campaigning for Kenya's next general election will start on May 28th, about ten weeks before the ballot on August 8th, according to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).


Other key dates include the publication of a final, official candidate list by June 17th (following the settlement of any disputes), and the holding of three live television debates between presidential candidates on July 10th, 17th and 24th. With party nominations now complete, the IEBC says that more than 16,000 people will seek elected positions, including almost 5,000 independents. In addition, 19 contenders have registered to fight the presidential election, although some will be ruled out by technicalities, such as lacking sufficient supporting signatures.

Just two have a realistic chance of winning the presidency: the incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta, representing the Jubilee Party, who is seeking a second and final five-year term; and Raila Odinga, standing for the National Super Alliance (Nasa), a broad-based opposition coalition. The contest will reprise the 2013 election, when Mr Kenyatta defeated Mr Odinga by a 50.3%-43.7% margin, although opposition prospects now appear slightly brighter. In particular, Musalia Mudavadi (who took 3.7% of the presidential vote in 2013) and his Amani National Congress are now part of the opposition alliance, whereas they informally backed Jubilee after the last ballot, providing the ruling party with enough seats for a parliamentary majority. If no presidential candidate crosses the 50% mark in the first round, the two best-placed contenders will fight a second round.

The elections for the National Assembly-and the second-ever elections for the Senate, county governors and county legislatures (which came into being under the 2010 constitution)-are more unpredictable, given the greater weight accorded by voters to local matters. It seems probable that no party will win an outright majority in the National Assembly (as was the case in 2013), leading to the formation of post-election alliances. Adding to the mix are a large number of independent candidates, including many of those defeated in party primaries, who may attract sufficient local support to win or sway the outcome in some seats.

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