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Jan 15,2008
Kenyan parliament reopens in acrimony
by UPI

NAIROBI, Kenya -- Sharp exchanges and opposition accusations of fraud marked Tuesday's first session of Kenya's new National Assembly to elect a speaker.

Members of opposition leader Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement party refused to stand as Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki entered the legislature, the BBC reported.

The party alleged vote-rigging by Kibaki's party in the Dec. 27 election that led to rioting that killed more than 600 people and 250,000 people fleeing their homes to safety.

Kibaki's party won 43 of the 222 seats and by coalition has a majority outnumbering the ODM's 99 seats.

Odinga had said his members would sit on the government side of parliament, although as the session began, he took the seat for the leader of the opposition as members filed in, all bearing orange handkerchiefs in their jacket pockets, the BBC said.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was to arrive Tuesday night to lead an African mediation team in the dispute.

Copyright © 2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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