Kenya’s Kenyatta hovers around 50 percent in presidential election | Africa | DW | 08.03.2013
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Kenya’s Kenyatta hovers around 50 percent in presidential election

Vote counting has reached the final stretch in Kenya to determine the country's next president. The leading candidate, Uhuru Kenyatta, has seen his percentage waver around the crucial 50 percent mark.

The latest vote tally showed Uhuru Kenyatta, the deputy prime minister, with 49.93 percent of the vote, with nearly 90 percent of votes counted.

Kenyatta must reach above the 50 percent mark to avoid a runoff with the other top candidate, Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

The election commission announced late Friday afternoon that it intended to finish the counting process by the end of the day, however that goal now seems unlikely to be reached.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chief Ahmed Issack Hassan said officials were working "around the clock" to tally the final results "as soon as possible."

However, based on the speed of reporting of results, final tallies won't emerge until Saturday. The commission has until Monday to release the official results.

Troubled process

The counting process has been marred by allegations from both sides of vote rigging.

Kenyatta's party voiced concerns over the drawn-out vote count, complaining that the inclusion of spoiled ballots in the overall tally could lead to a second round of voting.

Odinga's side strongly challenged the process on Thursday, saying counting should be halted because it lacked integrity. It added claims that some of the ballots had been "doctored."

Kenya's electoral commission has dismissed both sides' claims. The nation is still scarred by memories of the 2007 post-election bloodshed in which more than 1,000 people died.

Kenyatta is due to face a trial in The Hague in July for crimes against humanity linked to that violence. With a trial that could take years, Kenyatta would have to govern from The Hague if he wins the election.

Election officials estimate more than 70-percent of Kenya's 14.3 million voters turned out to cast their vote on Monday.

hc,jlw/dr (Reuters, AP, AFP)