Understanding what the '50% plus 1 vote' rule means in presidential elections

Understanding what the '50% plus 1 vote' rule means in presidential elections

  • The rule simply means that the presidential winner must have garnered 50 percent of the total votes plus one more vote. 

As the tallying process nears the end, Kenyans still remain anxious about who will be declared the one to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta and become the 5th President of the Republic.

Among the factors to be considered in determining the winner, according to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), is the 50 plus 1 vote rule which has remained unclear on what it really means.

Does it mean that one must attain 50 per cent of the votes and one more per cent, or is it literally a single vote? Citizen Digital debunks the conundrum.

The rule simply means that the presidential winner must have garnered 50 per cent of the total votes plus one more 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 happens if the candidate fails to attain the threshold?

In the event that one fails to get the required 50% plus one vote, then a presidential election run-off (re-run) will be done within 30 days from the initial election.

"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.

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IEBC Ruto Raila Citizen TV Citizen Digital elections 50% plus 1 vote

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