Kenya politics: Quick View - President wins election rerun

Content Type
Country Data and Maps
Institution
Economist Intelligence Unit
Abstract
No abstract is available.
Topic
Politics, News Analysis, Forecast, Political stability
Political Geography
Kenya

Event

The result of the presidential election rerun, announced on October 30th, handed victory to Uhuru Kenyatta, the incumbent, after the opposition, led by Raila Odinga, boycotted the ballot.

Analysis

Mr Kenyatta won 7.5m votes in the October 26th rerun-98.2% of the total cast-but turnout plunged to about 38% nationally because of an opposition boycott, and voting failed to take place in several opposition strongholds, partly because of security concerns. In the original August 8th election-later annulled by the Supreme Court because of irregularities-Mr Kenyatta captured 8.2m votes, 54.2% of the total, on a 79% turnout.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) duly announced Mr Kenyatta as the rerun victor, paving the way for his inauguration as president for a second (and final) term, but the low turnout tarnishes his win and the outcome is highly likely to face legal challenges. We expect Mr Odinga's National Super Alliance (Nasa) to petition the Supreme Court-which must be done within seven days of the result being announced-on the basis that the IEBC failed to correct most of the flaws identified by the court in the original election, meaning the rerun was similarly tainted. Pre-vote comments by Wafula Chebukati, the IEBC chair, that it would be hard to ensure a free and fair poll-because of political deadlock, threats of violence and splits within the commission-may bolster the opposition's cause. An alternative tactic could see Nasa demand a fresh election (rather than another rerun) because of legal technicalities surrounding Mr Odinga's withdrawal from the contest. The opposition may also contend that a failure to hold a vote in all constituencies breached the constitution.

Political uncertainty is therefore poised to remain at a high level, at least until the next ruling by the Supreme Court, and probably for longer. This could leave policymaking in limbo and will do little to restore business confidence. The rerun sparked some clashes between opposition supporters and the police, leading to a handful of deaths, but although the trouble was no worse than after the original August ballot, the risk of more widespread violence remains elevated.

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