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Iran Press TV

Kenya's opposition leader Odinga slightly ahead in presidential race: Official results

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 13 August 2022 1:24 PM

As Kenya's election count has dragged into its fifth day, official election results show that opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga is leading the presidential race against his main challenger Deputy President William Ruto.

According to results provided by Kenya's election commission and displayed on a large screen at a national tallying center in the capital, Nairobi, on Saturday, Odinga had 54 percent and Ruto had 45 percent with just over 26 percent of votes counted.

People in Kenya voted to elect their fifth president since independence on Tuesday, amid harsh economic conditions.

More than 22 million Kenyans had registered to vote in the seventh general elections, which also included parliamentary and local polls, since multiparty democracy was established in the country of 53 million in 1992.

Official results will be announced within a week. The candidates need more than half of all votes, as well as more than 25 percent of the votes in over half of the country's 47 counties, to avoid a runoff. However, official vote tallying has been proceeding slowly, fueling public anxiety.

On Friday, the head of Kenya's election commission blamed the slow progress on disruptions by political parties, who he said were treating the process like a "forensic audit".

"Agents in this exercise cannot proceed ... as if we are doing a forensic audit," the electoral body's chairman Wafula Chebukati said during a press briefing, adding that "We are not moving as fast as we should. This exercise needs to be concluded as soon as possible."

The commission has until Tuesday to declare a winner.

Kenya, East Africa's main economic hub, faces an economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a drought that has pushed up prices of food and fuel. The country also suffers from high youth unemployment and rampant corruption.

Those tough economic realities dominated the campaigns and marginalized ethnic and personality-driven politics. For the first time in more than a decade, there was no leading candidate from the Kikuyu community, the largest ethnic group in Kenya and one that the majority of the country's former presidents belonged to.

Both Odinga and Rutto have pledged to address the country's gaping inequality gap and focus largely on domestic issues.

Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta has already endorsed Odinga.

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