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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 November 2005, 11:06 GMT
Defeat raises questions for Kenya's leader
By Adam Mynott
BBC News, Nairobi

The rejection of Kenya's draft constitution has been a heavy setback for President Mwai Kibaki, who prominently led the "Yes" campaign to a humiliating defeat.

President Mwai Kibaki casting his vote
President Kibaki risks being seen as a lame duck
Although it was not a vote of confidence on his three year-old administration, there is no question that many Kenyans will have voted "No" in part because they are disillusioned with the government which has been mired in corruption.

Mr Kibaki came to power in 2002 promising to introduce free primary education, to deliver a new constitution and to end corruption.

One out of three - education - is not good.

He will also have to decide what to do with cabinet ministers who led the "No" camp, like Roads Minister Raila Odinga.

If the "Yes" camp had won, Mr Kibaki would have sacked them but now their authority has been enhanced by the resounding "No" win.

Inspired leadership needed

It is very unlikely that Mr Kibaki's government will return to the constitution in the remaining two years of its mandate.

Anti-constitution campaigner
Fruit symbols have been used to help illiterate voters
The government has made it clear that the version decisively rejected by the electorate is the only one on offer.

Kenyan politicians will now start looking forward to the next general election in two years' time.

The referendum defeat has thrown the political pieces in Kenya in the air.

In the coming months, new alliances and allegiances will be formed that will take some inspired leadership from Mr Kibaki - the sort that he has not exhibited so far - to prevent him from becoming a lame duck leader for the remainder of his administration.

See votes being cast and counted in Kenya

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