SNP MEP Calls For New Kenyan Presidential Elections

17 January 2008
SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has today called for fresh presidential elections in Kenya if it should prove impossible to organise a fair and credible recount of the votes by an independent body.

Since Kenya's presidential elections on 27 December 2007, which saw the current President Mwai Kibaki re-elected with a slim margin of 230,000 votes out of a total of 10 million, there have been widespread protests across the country. Hundreds of people have died in the violence and thousands displaced.

In a resolution adopted overwhelmingly today by the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Mwai Kibaki was called on to respect his country's democratic commitments enshrined in Kenya's National Constitution and the guidelines of the African Charter of Human and People's Rights relating to free and fair elections and to agree to an independent examination of the presidential vote through the setting up of an impartial Election Commission.

While condemning the tragic loss of life and the remaining critical humanitarian situation, MEPs also urged the EU to freeze any further budgetary support to the Kenyan government until the present crisis can be resolved politically.

Speaking from Strasbourg, Mr Smith said:

"The results of Kenya's recent presidential elections are clearly dodgy. The level of irregularity is such that I believe a proper audit of the results is necessary failing which the elections should be run again, and EU aid to the government withheld until they are.

"This is a very tragic situation but it is up to the international community to support the people of Kenya with the help of the aid agencies by taking further concrete action that aims to bring about a peaceful solution to this continuing crisis. There is much in the Parliament's resolution which I agree with. Freezing EU aid to the Kenyan government and redirecting it to the aid agencies is but one step which I hope will send a strong signal to the Kenyan government that the international community is no longer prepared to accept the present situation".