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Types of Parliamentary Elections in Kenya

  • Author Gĩthĩnji
  • Updated on:

General elections, by-elections, and recall elections are the three types of parliamentary elections in Kenya.

General elections occur every five years, while by-elections occur when a parliamentary seat becomes vacant.

After a recall of a member of parliament, recall elections occur, and if the recall election is successful, a by-election occurs to fill the vacancy.

Parliamentary elections involve the election or recall of the following members of parliament:

  • the members of the Senate (or Senators);
  • the members of the National Assembly;
  • County Women Representatives.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is in charge of parliamentary elections in Kenya.

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types of parliamentary election in Kenya

Let’s discuss in detail the types of parliamentary elections in Kenya.

General Elections

The most common type of parliamentary election is the general election, which takes place every five years after a parliament’s session.

Citizens with valid voter registration have the option of re-electing their current members of parliament or electing new members to serve them for the next five-year term of parliament.

These elections involve voting for all members of parliament on the same day.

The elections can happen before the five-year term ends under certain circumstances, such as in Article 261 (7) of the Constitution.

According to the legislation, the Chief Justice can advise the president to dissolve parliament, and the president must heed this advice.


Also known as special elections, by-elections occur within the term of parliament between one general election and the next.

The circumstances leading to a by-election in Kenya include when a member of parliament dies, resigns, is recalled or becomes bankrupt.

When IEBC declares a parliamentary seat vacant, it schedules a by-election to fill the seat.

Recall elections

Article 104 of the Kenyan Constitution defines recall elections as a distinct type of parliamentary election.

When the electorate is dissatisfied with the performance of their member of parliament, they may petition the IEBC to recall the member.

IEBC then holds a recall election based on a framed question to be determined during the election based on a simple “yes” or “no” answer.

If a recall election results in the removal of a member of parliament, the IEBC shall conduct a by-election in the County or Constituency.

Read the detailed article about the types of elections in Kenya.

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