Close race in Kenyan elections marked by low voter turnout


NAIROBI, Kenya 

Preliminary results announced by Kenya’s electoral commission early Wednesday showed a tight race between frontrunners Raila Odinga and William Ruto, the two main presidential contenders. 

Around 17 hours after the polls closed in the East African nation, results showed that Odinga, a former opposition leader, and Ruto, Kenya’s deputy president for the past 10 years, are competing neck and neck, both with about 1.2 million votes.

This puts Odinga and Ruto at just over 49% of the current tallied votes, while the winning candidate should have 50% plus one vote.

If neither hits the 50% plus one mark, a runoff will be triggered.

Two other presidential hopefuls are lagging far behind with slightly over 0.5% of the votes.

According to analysts, it is still too soon to call the election results in Kenya, which has a population of 53.7 million people and 22.12 million registered voters.

Kenya’s polls have been marred by a historic low voter turnout, according to the country’s electoral commission.

Two hours before the polls closed on Tuesday, the commission at 4 p.m. local time (1300GMT) recorded a 56.17% voter turnout, figures which cannot compare to Kenya’s past two elections.

Kenya’s Education Ministry announced on Wednesday that schools would reopen on Monday, after a break to help the electoral commission use the facilities as polling stations and tallying centers.

Kenya’s voting process was run across 46,229 polling stations, and the public cast ballots for the president, governors, members of parliament, and members of county assemblies.

The general elections are being monitored by 18,000 observers, including 1,300 international observers.



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