Deputy President William Ruto edged ahead of his main rival Raila Odinga in Kenya’s presidential election as the country remained on tenterhooks for the final election outcome.
Ruto scored 51.25 percent of the vote on Sunday, reversing earlier gains for Odinga, who had 48.09 percent, according to figures from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which tallied results from nearly 50 percent of constituencies.
The election, which was held on Tuesday, is being closely watched as a test of stability in Kenya, which is one of East Africa’s wealthiest nations and its most vibrant democracy.
Past votes in the country have been marred by rigging and deadly violence.
The electoral commission has until Tuesday to declare a winner. The winning candidate must receive 50 percent of the national vote plus one, and at least 25 percent of the vote from 24 of 47 counties.
With the race so close, observers say an appeal to the Supreme Court by the losing candidate is almost certain, meaning it could be many weeks before a new president takes office.
In western Kenya, residents said they were tired of waiting for results, but stressed they were also sapped from the turbulence of the past.
“We aren’t ready for any violence here,” said Ezekiel Kibet, 40, who said he would accept the results if the process is transparent. “We are thinking of how our kids will go back to school.”
“Let whoever will win rule us,” added Daniel Arap Chepkwony, 63. “Many people think that we here will come out with our weapons, but we will not.”