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Cablegate: Cote D Ivoire: Ouattara Announces Candidacy

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 040745Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3483
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0845

UNCLAS ABIDJAN 000927

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/W-PDAVIS, PARIS FOR GD'ELIA, LONDON FOR RBELL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM IV
SUBJECT: COTE D IVOIRE: OUATTARA ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY


1. (U) Former Ivorian Prime Minister and long-time President
of the Rassemblement des Republicains (RDR) party Alassane
Ouattara announced his candidacy for the Ivorian presidential
election during an August 25 speech in Paris to RDR
supporters in Europe. (Note: the date of the election has
not yet been set. End Note) He promised his audience a
"better" Cote d Ivoire and assured them that RDR will win the
next election. Ouattara said there must be a limit to the
length of time that the powers of the Chief Executive of Cote
d Ivoire can be extended.

2. (U) Ouattara said the RDR believes in peace, liberty,
social justice, and solidarity. He announced that an RDR
party congress has been scheduled for the end of 2007 and
noted that the party has 700,000 members in Cote d Ivoire
with 3,000 chapters and 30,000 local committees. He
encouraged RDR party members to get on the electoral rolls.

3. (U) Ouattara said RDR members need to work to ensure that
the election is transparent and in conformity with
international standards. Ouattara said the RDR is calling
for transparency so that "the best will win" and assured his
supporters that, if the election is transparent, the RDR will
win. Ouattara said it is important to ensure that all steps
in the electoral process are certified by a neutral party and
added that he counts on the good will of Ouagadougou
Political Accord (OPA) Facilitator and President of Burkina
Faso Blaise Compaore to ensure the complete transparency of
the election. Ouattara lamented the UN Security Council
decision to eliminate the position of High Representative for
Elections and said that position "was created in response to
the complexity of Cote d Ivoires situation." Ouattara
described the UN Security Councils decision as a step
backward by the international community in relation to its
earlier positions. Ouattara said the United Nations Operation
in Cote d Ivoire (UNOCI) will inevitably be held responsible
for any disorder that takes place as a result of a poorly
organized election.

4. (U) Ouattara noted that there are no problems between Cote
d'Ivoire and France and invited French citizens who
"wrongfully" and "disgracefully" had to depart Cote d Ivoire
to return if they want to.

5. (SBU) Comment. Ouattaras candidacy is not a surprise.
It is interesting that he chose to announce it in Paris,
where he spends a great deal of time, rather than in Cote
d Ivoire. Ouattara did not attend the July 30 "Flame of
Peace" ceremony in Bouake. The Ivorian political opposition,
including the RDR, has been sidelined by the OPA.
AKUETTEH

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