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Briefing paper

BP91: Kenyans and the coalition Government: Disappointment in spite of relative peace

16 Apr 2015
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Kenya held its fourth multi-party elections in 2007. It turned out to be Kenya’s most closely contested election, but also the most poorly managed, since the return to multipartyism in 1992. Although the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) declared the incumbent and Party of National Unity (PNU) candidate Mwai Kibaki the winner, this was immediately disputed by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), which averred that their presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, was the winner. The resulting dispute led to unprecedented violence, and peace was only restored after mediation by a panel of eminent persons led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The peace deal led to the formation of a coalition government between the PNU and the ODM. Before the deal PNU had earlier incorporated ODM-Kenya, the third largest party during the 2007 election, as a partner in the government. The coalition government thus included all the three main parties during the 2007 elections, and left the country without an official opposition.