Kenyan Electoral Body in Talks With Parties on Vote Deadlock

NAIROBI (Capital Markets in Africa) – Kenya’s electoral body held talks with opposition and ruling party officials as it seeks an agreement on how to handle the rerun of last month’s botched presidential vote, as a standoff between the three sides threatens to trigger a constitutional crisis.

The meeting in Nairobi, the capital, sought to set a “framework of issues for discussions at subsequent talks” between the electoral body and the rival political parties, Norman Magaya, head of the opposition alliance’s secretariat, said Wednesday by phone.

The political parties have agreed on the issues and negotiations will resume on Thursday, Wafula Chebukati, chairman of the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission, told reporters in the city.

The opposition National Super Alliance and the ruling Jubilee Party are in a standoff over how the commission should conduct the Oct. 26 vote. Unless their differences are resolved, the election risks being postponed, an eventuality the constitution doesn’t provide for. The new ballot is being held after the Supreme Court annulled the Aug. 8 presidential because of “irregularities and illegalities” committed by the commission.

Opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga has demanded that sweeping changes be made to the commission’s staff and electronic voting systems, failing which he’s said he’ll derail the new vote. President Uhuru Kenyattaopposes staff changes and Ezra Chiloba, the commission’s chief executive officer, has rejected calls to resign.

Uncertainty about the new election is unnerving investors and clouding the outlook for an economy that’s already slowing. Kenya is the world’s largest exporter of black tea and a regional hub for companies including General Electric Co. and Coca-Cola Co.


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