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Vote-Counting Under Way in Kenyan Elections


Vote-counting is under way in Kenya following Thursday's presidential and parliamentary elections.

About 14 million Kenyans were eligible to cast ballots in a tight presidential race between the incumbent, Mwai Kibaki, and his main challenger Raila Odinga. The first official results are expected Friday.

Witnesses say voter turnout appeared to be high, although no official figures have been released.

Reports from Kenya's western Nyanza district say two people were killed today in election-related violence. However, international election observers say the voting process was largely peaceful.

The chief European Union election observer, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, also said he had seen no evidence of fraud.

Odinga has repeatedly accused Mr. Kibaki of trying to rig the election, allegations that the president has denied.

Today, Odinga came out of his Nairobi polling station saying he could not vote because his name was not on the official register. He filed a complaint with the election commission, and was later able to cast his ballot.

Voting stations were scheduled to close at five pm local time but remained open in some areas where polling began late because of organizational problems.

President Kibaki is seeking a second and final five-year term in office. Kenya's economy has grown about five percent each year of his tenure, but he has been criticized for not upholding his promise to fight corruption in government.

Citizen groups have accused both major presidential candidates of bribing voters and raising funds through illegal sources.

To win, a presidential candidate must not only get the most votes but also win at least 25 percent of votes in five of Kenya's eight provinces. The rule was adopted in 1992 to ensure the president's support is spread across the country and not focused in a few urban areas or tribes.

Kenyan voters also were electing 210 members of parliament and more than two thousand local councilors today.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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