KENYA
Parliamentary Chamber: Bunge - National Assembly

ELECTIONS HELD IN 1997

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Chamber:
  Bunge - National Assembly


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  29 December 1997
30 December 1997


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the elective seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  On 10 November 1997, President of the Republic Daniel arap Moi (Kenya African National Union - KANU) dissolved the National Assembly that had been elected five years earlier and the December polling date was announced; voting for Parliament, the President and local Government officials was scheduled simultaneously. Shortly before this announcement, a package of constitutional amendments - generally designed to facilitate the participation of opposition parties in the political system and to ensure fairer elections - was finally approved. Among other things, these modifications provided for equal access to the mass media by all parties and altered the make-up of the National Electoral Commission.

In the presidential contest, 14 candidates challenged Mr. Moi, Head of State since 1978 and seeking his fifth five-year term. His most serious rivals were Mr. Mwai Kibaki of the Democratic Party, a former Vice-President; Mrs. Charity Kaluki Ngilu of the Social Democratic Party, the first female candidate for the post; Mr. Raila Odinga of the National Democratic Party; and Mr. Michael Kijana Wamalwa, representing different factions of the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD). During the campaign, the divided opposition - largely split along ethnic lines - pointed to the country’s struggling economy and the declining standard of living, corruption in official circles and the need to improve various sectors of the nation’s crumbling infrastructure (roads, schools, hospitals, etc.). Mr. Moi, for his part, pledged above all to tackle corruption and injustice. For the enlarged Parliament (elected seats raised from 188 to 210), 883 candidates from 22 parties were in the running.

Polling - monitored by local and international observers - was extended by one day to 30 December. When announced results gave the presidential victory to Mr. Moi, his primary challengers alleged fraud. In the parliamentary races, KANU emerged on top with 107 elective seats but the combined opposition captured 103. Once again, the latter alleged voting irregularities, a claim agreed to by some international observers. Of the 25 KANU Cabinet Ministers, 12 lost their seats.

On 8 January, President Moi announced the composition of a reduced KANU Cabinet of 23 Ministers but did not name a Vice-President.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (29 December 1997): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 9,030,092
Voters 5,908,948 (65,43%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 95,349
Valid votes 5,813,599

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Elected Appointed
Kenyan African National Union (KANU) 113 107 6
Democratic Party (DP) 41 39 2
National Development Party (NDP) 22 21 1
Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD-Kenya) 18 17 1
Social Democratic Party (SDP) 16 15 1
Safina 6 5 1
Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD-People) 3 3 0
Shirikisho 1 1 0
Kenya Social Congress (KSC) 1 1 0
Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD-Asili) 1 1 0

Comments:
  Excluding two ex-officio members

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 216
Women: 8
Percent of women: 3.57


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Copyright 1997 Inter-Parliamentary Union