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Cablegate: Assembly Regains Quorum; Election Law Neglected

VZCZCXRO4727
OO RUEHBW RUEHIK RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #1193 1360456
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 150456Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3909
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 001193

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 REGAINS QUORUM; ELECTION LAW NEGLECTED

REF: KABUL 1147

1. (SBU) The National Assembly's lower house regained quorum
May 11 after Speaker Qanooni forced an end to the non-Pashtun
MPs' boycott over the elections law bill's reservation of 10
parliamentary seats for Kochis (REFTEL). Qanooni redoubled
his efforts to end the boycott when public sentiment turned
against the lower house because of its failure to consider
the politically important civil servants law bill. Several
of Qanooni's previous attempts to corral striking MPs had
failed when one or both two sides reneged on reconciliation
agreements, due to pressure, his staff told us, "from
outsiders." Prior to a May 10 reconciliation meeting,
Qanooni ordered MPs to surrender their cell phones before
locking the members inside a conference room to force a deal.
Six hours later, the group agreed to return the elections
law bill, along with its controversial Kochi seats
reservation, to committee. The group also agreed to
discipline Alam Gul Kochi, whose April 12 insults of
non-Pashtun MPs had sparked their walkout. Before releasing
the MPs, Qanooni had them sign a document attesting to their
agreement.

2. (SBU) Since resuming its plenipotentiary sessions, the
lower house has focused exclusively on the civil servants law
bill, neglecting the elections law. We are continuing to
register with the Speaker's office our strong interest in the
elections law bill's passage. The lower house recesses June
4 and returns July 21.

WOOD

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