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Kenya Coalition Picks Odinga as Presidential Candidate

Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga
Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga. Photographer: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga will be the presidential candidate for the Coalition for Reform and Democracy in the March 4 elections, the group said.

The east African country’s largest coalition also named Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, who leads the Wiper Democratic Movement, as Odinga’s running mate. Trade Minister Moses Wetangula, chief of the FORD-Kenya party, will become the leader of the majority in the senate if the coalition wins, Musyoka said in Nairobi.

“These are the flag bearers,” Musyoka said.“This is the CORD team.”

About 47 percent of respondents in a survey by Ipsos-Synovate indicated they will vote for the Odinga-led coalition, the research company said Dec. 14. Odinga’s deputy, Uhuru Kenyatta, whose running mate is lawmaker William Ruto, is preferred by 41 percent of voters, it said.

The election will be a test of Kenya’s political stability. The last presidential vote in December 2007 was marred by allegations of vote-rigging, triggering ethnic clashes that left more than 1,100 dead and curbed economic growth. President Mwai Kibaki has said he will step down at the end of his second five-year term.

About 22 percent of Kenyan voters haven’t decided which presidential candidate to support, up from 12 percent in November, said Tom Wolf, a consultant with Ipsos-Synovate. Voter preferences may begin stabilizing by February, when parties submit their final list of candidates to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Wolf said.

Kenyatta, a member of the most populous Kikuyu ethnic tribe, and Ruto, a Kalenjin, along with two other Kenyans, are facing trial at The Hague-based International Criminal Court on charges of inciting their supporters to murder and forcibly displace one another during the last election. All four men deny the allegations.

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