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Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga, the presidential candidate of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition speaks during an interview with Reuters in Nairobi, Kenya September 7, 2017. Picture taken September 7, 2017. - RC1BA344BF00
REUTERS/Baz Ratner
I am out.
SITTING OUT

Kenya’s opposition candidate has withdrawn from the election rerun

By Abdi Latif Dahir

Kenya’s opposition candidate Raila Odinga has withdrawn from the election redo set for Oct. 26. Odinga said in a press conference that the electoral commission had stonewalled meaningful deliberations on the necessary reforms that would have ensured that the upcoming election was free and fair.

Odinga also said that the ruling party Jubilee’s proposed amendments to the election laws in parliament demonstrated that it had no intention of competing on a level playing field. Taking all these issues into consideration, Odinga said his NASA coalition party was withdrawing from the election.

“After deliberating on our position in respect of the upcoming election, considering the interests of the people of Kenya, the region and the world at large, we believe that all will be best served by the party vacating its presidential candidature in the election scheduled for 26 Oct. 2017,” he said.

In early September, the supreme court had annulled the results of the presidential election which were held on Aug. 8 and ordered for a fresh vote in 60 days. The now-nullified results had put president Uhuru Kenyatta in the lead with over 54.2% of the vote compared to Odinga’s 44.7%—a margin of 1.4 million votes.

On Monday (Oct. 9), president Kenyatta had welcomed Odinga’s reported plan to withdraw from the election, saying “If you do not want elections, step aside so that the country can move forward.”

The NASA coalition also said it will hold protests across the country tomorrow (Oct. 11) under the motto of “No reforms, no elections.”