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Kenya’s Opposition Leader Odinga Withdraws from Presidential Election Re-Run | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga addresses striking doctors at the Uhuru Park as they wait for the release of jailed officials of the national doctors’ union following their case to demand fulfilment of a 2013 agreement between their union and the government that would raise their pay and improve working conditions, in Nairobi, Kenya February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga withdrew on Tuesday from a court-ordered re-run of the presidential election, saying the vote would not be free or fair and leaving President Uhuru Kenyatta as the only candidate.

The election re-run is scheduled for Oct. 26.

According to Reuters, Kenyatta said the election would proceed as planned, promising to get more votes than he did in August and saying his party had no time for “empty rhetoric and divisive politics”.

The election board said on Twitter it was meeting and would communicate the way forward.

But the announcements could further prolong nearly three months of political uncertainty that has worried citizens and blunted growth in Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy and a staunch Western ally in a region roiled by conflict.

An ally of Odinga called for nationwide protests from Wednesday, raising the prospect of more clashes between police and demonstrators.

For now though there was little sign that the demonstrations could boil over into ethnic clashes. Protests and ethnic violence killed 1,200 people after a disputed 2007 election.

In his announcement, Odinga repeated previous criticism of the election board, called the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), for not replacing some officials, who he blamed for irregularities in the Aug. 8 poll.