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Politics of Kenya


The Politics of Kenya take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Kenya is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system in accordance with a new constitution passed in 2010.


Executive power is exercised by the executive branch of government, headed by the President, who chairs the cabinet, that is composed of people chosen from outside parliament. Legislative power is vested exclusively in Parliament. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Executive branch

The president is elected for a five-year term by the people. As of the 2013 March general election, the Constitution of Kenya has two requirements for any candidate to be declared winner:

to win at least 25% of the vote in a majority of Kenya's forty seven counties
to garner 50% + 1 vote of the total valid votes.

If none of the candidates fulfills these requirements there is to be a runoff between the two contenders with the highest number of votes. The Deputy President is the running mate of the candidate that wins the presidential election whilst other cabinet members will be appointed, with the approval from the National Assembly, from outside Parliament.

Between 2008 and 2013 Kenya was governed by a Grand coalition, established by a power sharing agreement, signed by then President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement. 

That government featured the post of prime minister and ministers appointed to reflect political parties' relative strength in Kenya's 10th Parliament in which Raila Odinga's party, the Orange Democratic Movement was the largest party. Under the power-sharing agreement, each of the two major parties also nominated a deputy prime minister.

Legislative branch

The Bicameral Parliament consists of a National Assembly and Senate. The National Assembly, or Bunge, has 349 members, 290 members elected for a five-year term in single-seat constituencies, 47 women elected from each county, 12 members nominated by political parties in proportion to their share of seats won in the single-member constituencies, and an ex officio member: the speaker. 

There is also a senate with 67 members. 47 elected from counties acting as single member constituencies, 16 women nominated by political parties, a man and a woman representing youths and a man and woman representing people with disabilities. The speaker is an ex officio member.