What the ‘50% Plus 1 Vote’ Rule in Presidential Elections Means 

Kenyans continue to be anxious about who will be chosen as President of the Republic No. 5 and successor President Uhuru Kenyatta as the counting process draws to a close.

According to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the 50 plus 1 vote rule, whose exact meaning has not been clarified, is one of the elements that will be taken into account in deciding the victor.

Does this suggest that one must receive 50% of the votes plus 1%, or is it actually only one vote? Citizen Digital disproves the paradox.

Simply put, the requirement states that the presidential winner must have received 50% of the total votes plus one additional vote.

The threshold is enshrined in Article 138 (4) of the Kenyan Constitution which dictates that “A candidate shall be declared elected as President if the candidate receives– (a) more than half of all the votes cast in the election,” reads part of subsection 4.

At the same time, the candidate must have attained a 25% win in the majority of the counties across the country.

“…at least twenty-five per cent of the votes cast in each of more than half of the counties,” reads part (b) of subsection 4.

What occurs if the candidate falls short of the requirement?

A presidential election run-off (re-run) will be held within 30 days of the first election if one candidate does not receive the necessary 50% plus one vote.

“If no candidate is elected, a fresh election shall be held within thirty days after the previous election and in that fresh election the only candidates shall be– (a) the candidate, or the candidates, who received the greatest number of votes; and (b) the candidate, or the candidates, who received the second greatest number of votes,” reads sub-section 5.

What do you think?

Written by Esther Oyugi

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