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Polls close in Kenyan election amid tight two-person race

The polls have closed in Kenya’s election, as the country moves toward choosing a replacement to President Uhuru Kenyatta in what was expected to be a tight race between Deputy Prime Minister William Ruto and former prime Minister Raila Odinga (pictured). File Photo by Daniel Irungu/EPA-EFE
The polls have closed in Kenya’s election, as the country moves toward choosing a replacement to President Uhuru Kenyatta in what was expected to be a tight race between Deputy Prime Minister William Ruto and former prime Minister Raila Odinga (pictured). File Photo by Daniel Irungu/EPA-EFE

Aug. 9 (UPI) -- The polls have closed in Kenya's Tuesday election, as the country moves toward choosing a replacement to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Deputy Prime Minister William Ruto was expected to face a tight race against former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

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Voters who were in line to vote before the official closing time, were still permitted to cast ballots. Polls were also extended in some areas where they did not open on time.

Just over 56% of the 22 million registered voters had cast their vote an hour before the official close of polls.

"For the first time in the history of multi-party democracy in Kenya, all the candidates have undertaken that they will accept the outcome of the results," Ruto, 55, told the BBC.

Odinga, 77, did not speak to reporters but was greeted by a throng of supporters in the capital of Nairobi.

Odinga is a long-serving opposition leader and is running for president for a fifth time. He has campaigned on instituting a healthcare-for-all system.

Both men cast their ballots Tuesday.

If neither candidate garners 50% of the vote, the election would go into a runoff for the first time in Kenyan history.

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In the country's most recent election in 2017, a dispute over results led to weeks of violence leading to deaths and forcing thousands to flee from their homes.

Kenya's electoral commission has seven days to announce the result of the election.

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