Kenya’s High Court ruled on Friday that the next presidential and parliamentary elections should be held in March 2013 and not this August, unless the ruling coalition collapsed, forcing an earlier poll. The east African country’s next election will come under intense scrutiny because it will be the first under a new constitution, and the first since the 2007 poll that gave rise to fighting in which more than 1,220 people were killed. The government had proposed amending the constitution to delay the vote to December because of logistical problems, prompting petitioners to ask the High Court for a ruling.
The court ruled that the current parliament should serve its full five-year term, which ends on January 14, 2013, and that the elections should be held 60 days later. The ruling will disappoint many Kenyans who want to vote out their legislators sooner.
The court also ruled that the elections could be held this year only if the ruling coalition between President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, created to end the violence after the 2007 election, were to collapse for any reason. The electoral commission would then set a poll date within 60 days of the breakdown.