Kenyan politician Raila Odinga has said he will use “all constitutional and legal options” to challenge the country’s election result – which saw deputy president William Ruto declared the winner.
There were scuffles and chairs were thrown at the national tallying centre in the capital Nairobi shortly before the result was announced on Monday.
Mr Ruto is said to have won almost 50.5% of the votes – but the dispute now threatens weeks of political turmoil in the East Africa country.
“Let no-one take the law into their own hands,” Mr Odinga told supporters in his first appearance since the declaration as he appealed to them to remain peaceful, and called the outcome a “travesty”.
There has been unrest in Kenya, which has a history of post-election violence.
Overnight, Mr Odinga’s backers battled police and burned tyres in the western city of Kisumu and in Nairobi’s huge Kibera slum, but the streets were quiet on Tuesday morning.
Veteran opposition leader and five-time presidential candidate Mr Odinga called the election result “null and void” and said it showed “blatant disregard of the constitution”.
Four of Kenya’s seven electoral commissioners have said they cannot support the result because the chairman’s figures come to 100.01% of the vote, and these excess votes may have been decisive.
Speaking for the four commissioners, deputy chair Juliana Cherera claimed chair Wafula Chebukati had disregarded concerns about the winning tally.
Mr Odinga, 77, has seven days from Monday’s declaration to petition the supreme court, which then has 14 days to make a ruling. It could order a fresh election.
The local elections observation group said on Tuesday that its respected parallel voting tally backed up the apparent victory of Mr Ruto.
The 55-year-old shook up Kenyan politics by appealing to people on economic terms and not the usual ethnic ones.
But Mr Odinga’s team had expected to win, securing the position he’s coveted for a quarter of a century, especially after the surprise backing of outgoing leader Uhuru Kenyatta, who snubbed his own deputy.
The official final results could not be accessed on the electoral commission’s website on Tuesday.