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Kenya's electoral contenders hold crucial talks ahead of repeat vote
From:Xinhua  |  2017-10-04 01:50

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NAIROBI, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's electoral contenders held talks with the electoral body on Tuesday to firm up preparations for the Oct. 26 repeat presidential elections with the main opposition showing signs of softening its tough stance on major reforms before the repeat vote.

The Supreme Court took the unprecedented step of nullifying the results of the Aug. 8 presidential vote, citing illegalities and irregularities.

Presidential candidate Raila Odinga and members of his opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) met with the Chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Wafula Chebukati and commissioners of the electoral body before holding talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta's delegation. Deputy President William Ruto also attended the talks with the IEBC officials.

"Most of the issues have been addressed," Chebukati told reporters after meeting the presidential candidates to discuss the procurement of key election material.

"We shall make changes in line with the law. We shall also make public all the contracts with the suppliers," he added.

The electoral body and its suppliers for the material used during the nullified polls have been under intense public pressure.

"NASA had a lot of issues called irreducible minimums. Most of them have been resolved by IEBC. In two days time, IEBC will publish agreements reached on election preparation. Jubilee has no issues. They want the election on Oct. 26," Chebukati said.

The "Irreducible Minimums" refer to demands by NASA that its chief says IEBC must meet for the election to take place.

Ruto said the ruling party Jubilee was happy with the election preparations and was in the process of giving the IEBC its list of party agents to participate in the process.

"We have no conditions. We have no irreducible minimum and we are ready for the elections," Ruto said.

He said they discussed critical matters and agreed the repeat election will take place as scheduled on Oct. 26. Ruto also said the commission assured it will pay special attention to manning the poll as directed by the Supreme Court.

"The commission also told us staff training is ongoing around the country. On the issue of agents we have told them we are in the process of completing the selection of 41,000 who will assist us in monitoring."

The opposition leaders said they had enough evidence to show complicity of the French firm, OT-Morpho, which supplied the electronic devices used to transmit the results.

Opposition lawmaker Senator James Orengo said the nullification of the presidential vote on account of errors in the transmission of the results had proved the French firm was complicit.

The removal of the French firm has been one of the key demands by NASA before agreeing to participate in the elections.

Orengo, who is the legal counsel for the main opposition alliance, said none of the issues raised by the alliance were addressed comprehensively during the Tuesday's meeting with the IEBC officials.

"The Supreme Court ruled that the election should be held in accordance with the constitution and the appropriate law. There will be another meeting in which we expect the Commission to respond to our irreducible minimum reforms before the repeat election," Orengo told reporters.

The main opposition alliance launched twice-weekly street demonstrations to press for the removal of key staff from within the electoral body, who the opposition leaders say were responsible for the nullified polls.

Orengo said among the key demands is that the IEBC must declare all the forms used in declaring the results of the presidential election are highly secured.

The opposition is also demanding the IEBC must ensure there is a system of auditing the election system.

"We still insist our demands are met and that this special election is held in accordance with the applicable law," Orengo told reporters.