The Carter Center Finds Kenya Election Results Reflect Will of Voters

For Immediate Release
CONTACT: In Atlanta, Deborah Hakes 1 404-420-5124; In Nairobi, Stéphane Mondon +254 738 245 781

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The Carter Center finds that in spite of serious shortcomings in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission's (IEBC) management of technology and tabulation of final election results, the paper-based procedure for counting and tallying presented enough guarantees to preserve the expression of the will of Kenyan voters.

The Center congratulates Uhuru Kenyatta on his election as the next president of Kenya, and praises outgoing Prime Minister Raila Odinga for taking his concerns with the conduct of the election to the Supreme Court and accepting their ruling, which upheld the final results announced by the IEBC on March 9. The presidential election petition proceedings conducted by the Supreme Court were held in a very professional and rigorous manner.

The Carter Center finds that several key areas related to the tabulation of results did not receive sufficient attention. The initial release of inaccurate figures transmitted by electronic means challenged citizen confidence in the IEBC. A lack of transparency in the national tally marred the final stages of the process. Party agents and observers were unable to observe these proceedings adequately, and the Center hopes that future tabulation processes will be organized in manner that allows for appropriate observer access.

While the IEBC met its constitutional obligation to publish final results within seven days of the March 4 election, the Center regrets the IEBC's continued unwillingness to publish results by polling station, thereby missing an additional opportunity for the public to confirm that their choice was accurately recorded and reported.

"These realities point to the need for continued citizen vigilance and government acceptance that a vibrant civil society is key for Kenya's democratic development," said Carter Center Vice President for Peace Programs Dr. John Stremlau.

The 2013 elections presented the Kenyan people with their first opportunity to exercise their rights under the new constitution and to elect representatives to new bodies at the national and newly-created county level. This experiment in democracy and devolution of authority is a work in progress, and the Center hopes that all Kenyans will work together to strengthen democratic institutions.

A final comprehensive report of the Center's overall assessment of the elections will be published in coming months.

The Carter Center has observed 94 elections in 37 countries, including the 2002 elections in Kenya. The Carter Center's 60-member delegation was in Kenya at the invitation of the IEBC. The Center conducts election observation in accordance with the Declaration of Principles of International Election Observation and Code of Conduct for International Election Observation adopted at the United Nations in 2005. The Center assesses electoral processes based on states' obligations for democratic elections contained in their regional and international commitments and in their domestic legal framework.

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