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Cablegate: Assembly Walkout Continues; Still No Election Law

VZCZCXRO0521
OO RUEHBW RUEHIK RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #1147 1320431
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 110431Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3832
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY

UNCLAS KABUL 001147

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A,
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC FOR WOOD
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CENTCOM FOR CG CJTF-101 POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL AF
SUBJECT: ASSEMBLY WALKOUT CONTINUES; STILL NO ELECTION LAW

REF: KABUL 1008

1. (SBU) The boycott by a group of predominantly non-Pashtun
MPs of the National Assembly's lower house plenary sessions
continues to prevent consideration of the election law bill.
The lower house will adjourn for its summer recess June 4.
The assembly's failure to make quorum prior to the recess
would delay election law passage for at least a month and a
half.

2. (SBU) Lower house leaders and several influential MPs have
repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, attempted to broker a
resolution to the Kochi seat-reservation dispute that
precipitated the boycott and loss of quorum (REFTEL). Wahabi
former warlord Ustad Abdul Rasul Sayyaf (Pashtun, Kabul)
rebuffed Speaker Qanooni's (Tajik, Kabul) May 6 invitation to
a meeting of the disputants. From the other end of the
ethnic spectrum, lower house First Deputy Speaker Mir Wais
Yasini's (Pashtun, Nangarhar) strenuous behind-the-scenes
efforts failed to muster enough MPs to make quorum May 10;
however, he did erode the boycott. Encouragingly, MP Qadria
Yazdan Parast (Tajik, Kabul), along with nine others from the
original group of boycotters, returned to the chamber.

3. (SBU) Pashtun MPs remain determined to preserve the
10-seat Kochi reservation, which contributes to their ethnic
bloc's voting power. MP Shakar Kargar (Uzbek, Faryab) said
Pashtun MPs rejected several compromise offers from the
boycotters. MPs Fatima Nazari (Hazara, Kabul) and Daud
Sultanzoy (Pashtun, Ghazni) separately said non-Pashtun
boycotters are equally determined to shift the chamber's
ethnic balance more in their favor.

4. (SBU) We have increased the frequency of our meetings with
all lower house faction leaders. We are quietly registering
with them our interest both in the elections law's passage
and in the National Assembly's execution of its
constitutional responsibilities on behalf of the Afghan
people.

WOOD

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