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Kenya elections count continues


Election officials in Nairobi were still counting ballots this morning in Kenya's presidential elections, as residents awoke to the first results.

The election is the first presidential poll under a new constitution designed to prevent the ethnic violence in which more than 1,000 people died after the 2007 vote.

Results are not expected until today or tomorrow.

Newspaper headlines today said the two top presidential contenders, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, were close in the polls.

A run-off between them is likely in April, unless one unexpectedly captures more than 50 percent of ballots from among the pool of eight candidates.

"We do not know who will win but whoever wins should take the responsibility of this country among all Kenyans because he was elected by Kenyans and even those who did not elect him, as long as he wins, he will have to take the responsibility for all of them," said Nairobi resident Isaak Kibui.

Despite the fact that the election drew millions of eager voters who endured long lines to cast ballots yesterday, the vote was marred by violence that left 19 people dead.

However, yesterday's separatist violence is different from the tribal, post-election violence experienced five years ago.

The ethnic violence could still break out if Odinga or Kenyatta supporters feel their candidate was cheated out of a win.

But some voters in Nairobi were optimistic about the relative peace.

"I like the fact that there is peace in Kenya and I just hope that God is going to help the leader who is coming in to lead the people of Kenya in a good way," said another Nairobi resident, Wakila Alama.