Kenyan Court Sets Two Possible Dates for Elections

Posted January 13th, 2012 at 6:50 am (UTC-5)
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Kenya's High Court has ruled that general elections must be held by March 2013, unless the country's fragile power-sharing government is dissolved before that date.

The date of the elections has sparked heated debate in Kenya. The country's new constitution, passed in 2010, fixed the next polls for August 14 of this year. But some lawmakers have pushed to move the elections to December for logistical reasons.

The court ruled Friday that elections should be held within 60 days of the end of parliament's five-year term, which comes on January 15, 2013.

The court left open the possibility for an earlier date, if President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga agree to dissolve parliament before then.

The elections, when they happen, will be the country's first since the disputed 2007 polls. Riots and ethnic violence after that election killed about 1,300 people.

The International Criminal Court is currently investigating six prominent Kenyans accused of organizing the post-election violence.

Kenya's coalition government has held together since 2008 despite tensions between Mr. Kibaki and Mr. Odinga, who were rivals in the 2007 presidential election.