Kenyans hope for non-violent election; standoff between Malaysian security forces and Filipino rebels kills 26; China to uphold judicial independence of Hong Kong; US pledges support for Egypt; cardinals want to be briefed on secret report; and more

Top of the Agenda: Kenya Hopes for Non-Violence in Key Election

Millions of Kenyans voted Monday in a key national election (AP) many hope will rebuild the nation's image after a disputed 2007 poll saw the deaths of more than 1,200 people amidst tribal violence. Despite hopes for calm, at least thirteen people were killed in attacks by gangs (al-Jazeera) in the coastal city of Mombasa. Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, who faces charges by the International Criminal Court for orchestrating the 2007 violence, is battling Prime Minister Raila Odinga for the presidency. The United States and Western donors have been worried about the stability of the nation, which is an ally in the fight against militant Islam in the region.

Analysis

"Given that the platforms of Mr. Odinga and Mr. Kenyatta don't differ much — both favor pro-market economic policies — the tribunal factor gives the outside world reason to hope that Mr. Odinga's narrow advantage in the polls will translate into a victory. But the most important outcome will be peaceful acceptance of the results by the defeated candidates," writes a Washington Post editorial.

"Because it has attracted such serious regional and international scrutiny for so many months now, and because the incumbent is not a contender, the first round of the election will in all likelihood go without a hitch, perhaps even as smoothly as the two national referenda on the constitution in 2005 and 2010. It is the rerun that will be the event most fraught with the baggage of the past, badly frayed nerves and sky-high tensions," writes Joe Adama for The Star.

"[Kenya] has not become a democratic success story. Kibaki has used his office to enrich and empower tribal allies while trying to destroy the opposition and make the presidency even more powerful. Graft has become worse since 2002. Public anger at the failings of the democratic period has led to spasms of violence," writes Josh Kurlantzick for CFR.

 

PACIFIC RIM

Malaysian Death Toll Reaches Twenty-Six in Siege

Twenty-six people have died so far in the three-week standoff (TIME) between Malaysian security forces and a group of Filipino militant rebels who stormed a northern Borneo village. The turmoil is overshadowing Malaysia's general elections, due before the end of June.

CHINA: China, whose National People's Congress meets this month to set key policies and appointments, said that it will uphold the judicial independence of Hong Kong (SCMP).

In this blog post, CFR's Elizabeth Economy examines the current U.S. stance on the pivot to Asia and what Secretary of State John Kerry thinks of China.

ELSEWHERE:

US pledges support for Egypt

Cardinals gathered for papal election want to be briefed on secret report

 

This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org.

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