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Archive for Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Voters reject first proposed constitution

November 23, 2005

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— President Mwai Kibaki conceded defeat Tuesday in Kenya's first constitutional referendum since independence, a setback to a leader many believe broke his promises to root out the corruption and autocracy that has plagued this east African nation for decades.

Kenyans rejected the proposed constitution by 57 percent to 43 percent in voting Monday, said Samuel Kivuitu, chairman of the Electoral Commission of Kenya. Because a third of adult Kenyans cannot read, voters cast ballots marked with a banana meaning "yes" and an orange meaning "no."

"Many people rejected the proposed constitution," Kibaki said in an address to the nation. "My government will respect the verdict of the people."

Final results will be published Friday.

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