Kenya's 'high priority' elections to get 150 EU observers

The European Union is deploying its largest election observer mission this year to Kenya, investing 6.8 million dollars to monitor polls in what it called a "high priority" country, officials said Tuesday.

Kenya's 'high priority' elections to get 150 EU observers
Some 150 election monitors are set to arrive in the East African country.

"Compared to countries in this region, Kenya stands out for stability, a market economy and since 2002 a solid electoral process. We ascribe great importance to a stable Kenya," Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, the EU's chief observer to Kenya, said.

The run-up to the December 27 elections has been marred by allegations of voter bribing in primaries, as well as a smattering of violence around the country.

Kenya's largest supermarket chain notified police when hundreds of machetes were purchased from its stores, only to turn up days later in an assistant minister's car.

Lambsdorff confirmed there had been some "irregularities" ahead of the vote but warned against viewing these as a harbinger of what's to come in next month's general vote.

Diplomats have warned that the closeness of the race - the two main candidates are neck-and-neck - could spur violence during the vote.

President Mwai Kibaki is seeking a second term under the Party of National Unity but polls show rival Raila Odinga, of the Orange Democratic Movement is pulling ahead.

Kalonzo Musyoka of the Orange Democratic Movement of Kenya, now in third place, could be the king maker in what is seen as the closest race in Kenya's history.

Some 14 million people are set to head to the polls next month.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Kasım 2007, 12:34