Kenyans are voting Tuesday to choose a successor to President Uhuru Kenyatta after a decade in power. The race is close and could go to a runoff for the first time. One top candidate is Raila Odinga, an opposition leader in his fifth run for the presidency who is supported by his former rival Kenyatta. The other is William Ruto, Kenyatta’s deputy who fell out with the president. Both tend to focus far more on domestic issues, raising the question of how either will follow up on Kenyatta’s diplomatic efforts to quell the tensions in neighboring Ethiopia or disputes between Rwanda and Congo. Odinga and Ruto have long circled among contenders for the presidency, and there is a measure of apathy among Kenyans, especially younger ones in a country where the median age is about 20. The electoral commission signed up less than half of the new voters it had hoped for, just 2.5 million. Key issues in every election include widespread corruption and the economy. Kenyans have been hurt by rising prices for food and fuel in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and that comes after the financial pain of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than a third of the country’s youth are unemployed. Official results will be announced within a week of the vote. To win outright, a candidate needs more than half of all votes and at least 25% of the votes in more than half of Kenya’s 47 counties. No outright winner means a runoff election within 30 days.
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