Polling stations open in tense Kenyan vote

NAIROBI Sun Mar 3, 2013 10:08pm EST

An official from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) confirms an empty voting box before the start of presidential and parliamentary elections in Kisumu, 350 km (217 miles) west of Nairobi March 4, 2013. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

An official from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) confirms an empty voting box before the start of presidential and parliamentary elections in Kisumu, 350 km (217 miles) west of Nairobi March 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Thomas Mukoya

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NAIROBI (Reuters) - Polling stations opened up to Kenyans on Monday for a tense presidential election that will test whether the east African nation can repair its damaged reputation after the tribal blood-letting that followed a 2007 poll.

This year's front-runners are Prime Minister Raila Odinga, 68, who lost in the 2007 race, and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, 51. According to polls, both are running neck-and-neck and well ahead of six other candidates. They will depend heavily on loyalists from rival tribes for votes.

Many voters had queued up hours before sunrise to cast their ballots before polling stations opened at 6 a.m. (0300 GMT). Voting stations close at 5 p.m. (1400 GMT) but voters still lined up at that time are usually allowed to cast their ballots.

(Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Eric Beech)

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