Ruto won with 50.49% of the vote, defeating veteran opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga in his fifth election.
He would become Kenya’s fifth president since independence, winning the seat in his first attempt. Ruto’s party, the Kenya First Coalition, won a majority of seats in Kenya’s Senate, the second highest in the National Assembly.
The announcement of the results was delayed more than two hours beyond the constitutional deadline and the country’s electoral commission was divided after four officials denied the results to commission chairman Wafula Chebukati.
Opposition officials held their own press conference at another venue to protest the official results. Juliana Cherera, IEBC’s vice president, was among those who disagreed with the results but did not provide any evidence of irregularities.
Earlier on Monday, Ruto’s rival Odinga’s coalition rejected the election results before they were announced by Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Outside the national election center in Nairobi, Odinga’s chief agent Saitabao Kanchori said he had not yet been able to verify the final result with his own tally.
“Once we see them, we want to verify them. When we verify them, we will be able to know and tell the people of Kenya, because an unverifiable result is not a result.” Kanchori told reporters awaiting the results. announcement
The national tallying center briefly descended into chaos shortly after Odinga’s coalition rejected the results, as a fight broke out and chairs were thrown in the building.
‘It ain’t over till it’s over’
In his first speech since being declared the winner of the election, Ruto thanked Kenyans for voting him the country’s next leader.
“There are no losers in this election, the Kenyan people have won because we have raised the political stake, the Kenyan people are the big winners,” he said.
He expressed his “gratitude” to Kenyan citizens who “refused to be boxed in tribal cocoons”.
He thanked his rival and senior opposition leader Raila Odinga and said: “We lived on the issues and tried to sell an agenda to the people of Kenya during the campaign.”
“God brought us here… My team and I will ensure that the sacrifices made by many Kenyans are not wasted… I will run a transparent, open, democratic government and I will work with the opposition parties to the extent that they monitor my administration,” he added.
There was a divided reaction to the presidential election results in Kenya on Monday evening. In Eldoret, live images from Ruto’s hometown showed large crowds cheering and celebrating his victory.
But protests broke out in Odinga’s stronghold of Kisumu. Live images showed scores protesting the election results, with tires on fire and smoke billowing in the air.
But Ruto’s popular “people-for-the-people” approach, which rejected political dynasties and played on anti-elite sentiment in the country, endeared him to voters.
He was able to overcome Kenya’s traditionally dynastic politics to defeat Odinga, the son of Kenya’s first vice president.
During the campaign, Ruto described himself as the “hustler-in-chief”, referring to his humble beginnings as a chicken seller who fought his way to the top of Kenyan politics.
Political analyst Herman Manyora told CNN ahead of the election that “Ruto has excited the youth … almost in a passionate sense.”
Ruto, a former teacher with a doctorate in plant ecology from the University of Nairobi, has pledged to prioritize Kenya’s economy and “uplift ordinary citizens” as president.
They are under pressure to provide solutions to Kenya’s pressing economic problems, including growing debt, high food and fuel prices and mass youth unemployment.
Ruto has a long and checkered history in Kenyan politics and was tried alongside President Kenyatta in 2013 at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands for crimes against humanity following deadly violence during the 2007 elections. However, the charges were later dropped.