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Senate passes election law amendments opposed by opposition

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan Senate on Thursday evening approved amendments to the election law, which were opposed by the opposition.

Senators allied to the ruling Jubilee party used their numerical strength to pass the amendment bill that roots for use of manual voting system in the event the electronic one failed for August’s general election.

The opposition says the bill could pave way for vote rigging.

The bill was approved by 24 Jubilee senators while 19 opposition senators voted against it. It had been passed by Parliament.

Before approving the bill late into the night, senators held a day-long session.

During the heated debate, senator James Orengo, who co-chaired a joint parliamentary select committee on the electoral reforms, termed the bill unconstitutional.

Senators from both sides of the political divide failed to strike a middle ground on the issue of manual vote tallying.

Opposition lawmakers earlier staged a walk-out in protest against the amendments during the special session to discuss the bill in Parliament in late December.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has two weeks to sign the bill into law but has an option to reject it and return it to Parliament for further debate.

Analysts say the disagreement on the vote counting system bodes ill for Kenya’s political stability.


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