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FILE PHOTO: Mock presidential election ballots are seen inside a ballot box at a mock polling station during a pre-election exhibition in Nairobi, Kenya, June 12, 2017. REUTERS/Baz Ratner


By George Obulutsa and Humphrey Malalo

NAIROBI (Reuters) - A Kenyan court on Friday nullified the contract for printing presidential ballot papers, a victory for the opposition which is concerned about the election due to be held on Aug. 8.

The high court judge ruled that Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission's (IEBC) tendering process was insufficiently transparent.

The opposition has lodged a series of legal challenges over the organisation of the election where President Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking a second and final five-year term against veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga.

The electoral board resigned in October after the opposition accused it of bias.

Kenya has a history of disputed elections. At least 1,200 people were killed in ethnic violence after the December 2007 polls. The opposition challenged the 2013 result, but it was upheld by the Supreme Court.

On the ballot paper case, the IEBC awarded the 2.5 billion-shilling ($24 million) contract to Dubai-based firm Al Ghurair last year. But a high court judge cancelled it in February, saying it did not follow new election regulations, after it was challenged by the opposition.

The IEBC awarded the contract to Al Ghurair again in June, prompting Odinga's National Super Alliance to appeal again, leading to Friday's outcome.

The former chairman of the IEBC is on trial for fraud after a London court convicted a British company of paying nearly 500,000 pounds ($620,000) in bribes in an election procurement scandal.

(Editing by Katharine Houreld and Robin Pomeroy)

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