Kenya Elections


KENYANS nervously eyed results trickling in a day after they turned out peacefully en masse for critical presidential elections, the first since disputed polls five years ago triggered a wave of bloodletting.

Throughout the night, results slowly filtered in from the polls - seen as key to the regional powerhouse's stability - with almost a third of polling stations posting results by mid-morning Tuesday.

The two front-runners are Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who says he was robbed of victory in 2007, and Uhuru Kenyatta, who faces crimes against humanity charges over the violence that killed more than 1,100 people and forced over 600,000 to flee their homes.

Voters standing for hours in snaking lines several hundred meters long - and several people thick - crowded peacefully outside polling stations to take part in one of the most complex elections Kenya has ever held.

Hours before polling stations opened, bloody clashes erupted on the Indian Ocean coast in which six policemen and six attackers were killed, as well as several bombs that wounded one person in Mandera, a northeastern town on the border with war-torn Somalia.

Kenyan police chief David Kimaiyo blamed the coastal attacks on suspected members of the secessionist Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) and said that 400 officers were being sent to beef up security in the popular tourist region.

But few other incidents were reported during polls.

More than 12 hours after most polls closed, results from 32% of the 31,981 polling stations - with over 4 million ballots counted from the 14.3 million registered voters - had been sent to the central tallying center in the capital Nairobi.

Of those counted at 9:45 am (0645 GMT), Kenyatta had taken 2,068,696 votes, or 54% of valid votes cast, with Odinga having won 1,562,288, or 41 %.

None of the other five candidates had taken more than one percent, while more than 237,000 rejected votes made up a staggering 5% of votes cast.

Ahmed Issack Hassan, the head of the Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission (IEBC), said late Monday that turnout was likely to be over 70%.

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