EU Parliament Calls for New Vote in Kenya, Demands Aid Freeze | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 17.01.2008
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EU Parliament Calls for New Vote in Kenya, Demands Aid Freeze

European lawmakers have said the result of Kenya's election was not credible and called for a fresh vote if a fair recount was not possible. They also want to temporarily freeze aid to Kenya as violence there continues.

Photo showing a group of Kenyans buring an election poster

Protests have been ongoing in Kenya since the announcement of the election results

In a nonbinding resolution, adopted on Thursday, Jan. 17, the 785-member EU assembly meeting in Strasbourg called for new elections in Kenya if a "credible and fair recount" of votes cast in the disputed elections proves impossible.

After the election on Dec. 27, 2007, current President Mwai Kibaki declared himself the winner despite widespread voting irregularities.

Head shot of Kibaki standing in front of microphones

Kibaki has come under international pressure over the elections

The European assembly said it deplored "the fact that Kibaki ... appointed his cabinet unilaterally, which severely undermined mediation efforts."

The assembly also voted to ask the EU to stop the 383 million euros ($562 million) of EU aid to Kenya planned for 2008-2013 "until a political resolution to the present crisis has been found", the parliamentarians said in a resolution.

Lawmakers criticized the EU executive for disbursing 40.6 million euros of budgetary aid to the east African nation a day after the election. EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel said the aid had been given out before doubts over the results had emerged.

UN calls for aid

On Wednesday, the United Nations launched an urgent appeal for 28 million euros ($41 million) in humanitarian aid to help an estimated 500,000 people affected by post-election violence in Kenya. The UN also stressed that aid should not be subject to any political conditions.

A large bag of rice is lifted over the heads of a group of hundreds of people

Kenyans receive food aid disributed by the Kenyan Red Cross

Meanwhile, earlier on Thursday police have killed at least two people protesting against Kibaki's reelection in the western port city Kisumu, the heartland of the opposition.

In the capital Nairobi, and the towns of Kisumu and Eldoret, police fired teargas and bullets during rallies called by opposition leader Raila Odinga, but banned by police.

Odinga, who accuses Kibaki of stealing the presidential vote, had called for three days of nationwide demonstrations to start on Wednesday. The protests, however, appeared to be losing steam under a police crackdown.

Western nations have said Kenyans have a right to peaceful protests, but the Kenyan government has said the demonstrations would sink into looting and violence.

More than 600 people are thought to have died in election violence so far, and a quarter of a million left homeless.

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