Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on Monday (December 31st) signed a bill into law allowing members of parliament an additional 15 days to change political parties before the March 4th general elections.
Under the previous regulations, all party changes were to take place before January 4th in order to be valid during the election, Kenya's Capital FM reported. That would have created huge problems in parliament, as too many lawmakers would have lost their seats after switching parties and the parliament would not be able to pass bills before the session ends on January 18th.
Presidential candidate Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and his vice presidential candidate Eldoret North Parliamentarian William Ruto of the Jubilee Coalition have become the first lawmakers to officially leave their parties. Ruto left the Orange Democratic Movement for the United Republican Party, whereas Kenyatta left the Kenya African National Union to join the National Alliance party. Ruto announced plans to leave his parliamentary seat, while Kenyatta has yet to formalise his move.
This is the second time that the deadline for party switching has been extended, as it was initially scheduled for October 17th.