, LONDON, Aug 6 – Britain has congratulated Kenya for strongly backing a new constitution in a peaceful referendum, saying the result paved the way for "a new era of stability, accountability and prosperity".
"I congratulate the people of Kenya on their historic referendum which has approved a new constitution for the country and for the peaceful and open manner in which it was conducted," said Foreign Secretary William Hague.
"This is a landmark decision that raises hopes for a new era of stability, accountability and prosperity in Kenya."
The constitution received 67 percent approval in the vote, according to Kenya\’s electoral commission, and defied fears of a repeat of the bloodshed unleashed by the country\’s 2007 presidential election.
Kenya\’s first new constitution since its 1963 independence will place checks on the president, remove the post of prime minister, devolve some degree of power to counties and generally consolidate democracy and human rights.
"I hope that this result will encourage Kenya\’s government and people to continue to strive for further reform and development," said Hague in a statement.
The foreign minister added Britain, the former colonial ruler of Kenya, would be "a staunch friend throughout this process".