Kenya court says minor candidate can contest presidential re-run


NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya’s High Court ruled on Wednesday an also-ran candidate in August’s presidential elections can contest this month’s re-run, increasing chances of that poll going ahead a day after the main opposition leader pulled out.

The repeat election between incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga was scheduled for Oct. 26, after the original ballot — in which Kenyatta was declared the winner — was annulled due to procedural irregularities.

But Odinga said on Tuesday he was withdrawing amid concerns that the re-run would not be free and fair.

His party called for fresh elections with a completely new election board, blaming some officials there for the irregularities that caused the Supreme Court to cancel Kenyatta’s win.

But the president may still have a challenger on Oct. 26 after the High Court ruled the election board should include Ekuru Aukot, who polled less than 1 percent first time around, on the ballot.

“I find nothing to bar the petitioner from contesting the fresh election,” said Justice John Mativo.

Aukot said to reporters outside the court that he still had concerns about the election board and would issue a statement in a day or two giving clarity about his plans.

editing by John Stonestreet

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