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Cablegate: Aln Pushing the Liberal Unity Envelope

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P 132240Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1271
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 MANAGUA 002110

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/12/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL KCOR KDEM NU
SUBJECT: ALN PUSHING THE LIBERAL UNITY ENVELOPE

REF: MANAGUA 2043

Classified By: Ambassador Paul Trivelli, Reason 1.4 (b) and (d)

Summary
- - - -

1. (C) The Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance party (ALN) is
pushing its fellow opposition Constitutional Liberal Party
(PLC) to prove that its true intentions are to cooperate
against the Sandinista regime of President Ortega. As
reported reftel, The ALN and PLC have signed agreements
covering both a common legislative agenda in the National
Assembly and a platform for electoral cooperation in advance
of the 2008 Municipal Elections. The ALN has now put the
PLC's commitment to democratic change in Nicaragua to the
test. On September 11, the ALN tabled a legislative motion
that would repeal several laws that provide legislative
backing to the power structures of Ortega and his partner in
corruption, former President and convicted felon Arnoldo
Aleman. The ALN is trying to force the PLC's hand to show
whether the PLC will actually work in tandem with Nicaragua's
democratic forces, or instead is still slavishly devoted to
Aleman and his "Pacto" with Ortega. End Summary.

Forcing the PLC's Hand
- - - - - - - - - - -

2. (U) The ALN's new motion would repeal the "Ley Marco" and
related laws. Repeal of the Ley Marco would bring into
immediate effect constitutional changes that reduce the power
of the executive, e.g., subject the naming of ministers to
National Assembly approval. The ALN motion also seeks to
repeal law 511 (which establishes the Superintendent of
Public Services), law 512 (which establishes the Institute of
Urban and Rural Property Reform), law 539 (law covering
Social Security), and all related and derivative laws and
legislative actions.

3. (C) ALN Deputy August Valle confirmed to us on September
12 that the ALN's intention is force the PLC's hand. The ALN
motion passes to the Justice Committee for review, but before
the matter is formally considered, the ALN and PLC will use
their newly established legislative consultation mechanisms
to hammer out a mutually agreeable compromise. Valle
indicated that the ALN is uncertain what the outcome will be.
ALN-PLC consultations over these laws will be a true test of
Aleman's continued power over the PLC, Valle opined.

4. (C) For their part, prominent members of the PLC publicly
complained about the unilateral manner in which the ALN had
tabled these proposals. PLC Whip Maximino Rodriguez told the
press on September 12 that the PLC would be introducing its
own initiative to repeal the Ley Marco, but confirmed the
party's intent to reconcile the two motions before the
Justice Committee.

Comment
- - - -

5. (C) It is uncertain whether the PLC will join the ALN in
its battle to support democracy in Nicaragua. Aleman is
still in charge of the PLC governing body, and, if
cooperation with the ALN directly counters his self-interest
by in some way jeopardizing his "Pacto" with Ortega, he
almost surely will torpedo liberal unity. By tabling
legislative motions that directly affect the powers of the
Presidency -- and by extension both Ortega and Aleman -- the
ALN is indeed putting the PLC to the test.

6. (S) We will continue to monitor closely the ALN-PLC
discussions, since opposition liberal unity is an essential
element of any strategy to check the authoritarian impulses
of the Ortega regime. As previously reported, the prospects
for an opposition victory in the November 2008 municipal
elections will be much improved if the two liberal parties
approach the elections together. The parties are still
working out the mechanisms for such cooperation and, once the
modalities are agreed, are likely to need our (and others')
assistance in effecting this cooperation. For example, if
the ALN and PLC decide to choose mutual candidates through a
process of primary elections, they may well seek help in
organizing primaries. Fostering a strong non-Alemanista
liberal opposition in Nicaragua is in our interests, and we
should be prepared to provide that help if/when the time

MANAGUA 00002110 002 OF 002


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