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Cablegate: Local Council Elections: Unofficial Results

VZCZCXRO4860
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #0833 1131615
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221615Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9007
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS CAIRO 000833

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NSC FOR PASCUAL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM KISL EG
SUBJECT: LOCAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS: UNOFFICIAL RESULTS

REF: A. CAIRO 389
B. CAIRO 495
C. CAIRO 677
D. CAIRO 693
E. CAIRO 720

Sensitive but unclassified. Not for Internet distribution.

1. (SBU) To date, no official nationwide results have been
announced in Egypt's April 8 local council elections.
Reportedly, results are being released governorate by
governorate, and will be finalized nationally next week.
With only 962 opposition candidates on the ballot
country-wide, out of the 52,000 seats up for election, even
without formal results, there is no doubt that the ruling
National Democratic Party "won" a resounding victory. The
press, and our contacts at various opposition parties, report
that the liberal Wafd party won 238 seats (out of 507
candidates on the ballot), the socialist Taggamu party won
125 seats (out of 415 candidates on the ballot), the liberal
Democratic Front Party won 6 seats (out of 18 on the ballot),
the Nasserite party won 14 seats, and the Moussa Mustafa
Moussa wing of the Al Ghad party won 6 seats. The Muslim
Brotherhood (MB), which at the last minute decided to boycott
the elections due to its only being allowed to register 20
candidates (ref D), won no seats.

2. (SBU) Our opposition and NGO contacts consider the flawed
process surrounding the local elections - especially the
barring of thousands of opposition candidates, Islamist and
secular, from registering - as a worrisome indicator of what
to expect for the 2010 People's Assembly and Shoura Council
elections. Independent parliamentarians in particular are
concerned; one told us the local council elections were a
"dress rehearsal for the 2010 parliamentary elections, when
the government will ensure that the ruling party sweeps
parliament, and there are far fewer irksome oppositionists in
the legislature."

3. (SBU) In addition to showcasing the government's
diminished tolerance for electoral competition from the MB
and secular oppositionists, the April 8 contests also
guaranteed that, under the current constitution, the MB will
not be able to field a candidate in the next presidential
election (currently planned for 2011). Constitutional
article 76 states that an independent presidential candidate
must obtain endorsements from 250 elected members of Egypt's
national and local representative bodies, of which there must
be a minimum of 65 endorsements from members of the People's
Assembly, 25 from the Shura Council, and 10 from local
councils in at least 14 governorates. Not having won any
seats on the local councils effectively bars the MB from
using this backdoor to contest the presidency.

SCOBEY

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