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Cablegate: Emerging Plan B Should the Fmln Win 2009

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSN #0843 1962229
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 142229Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9786
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SAN SALVADOR 000843

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/14/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL ES
SUBJECT: EMERGING PLAN B SHOULD THE FMLN WIN 2009
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

Classified By: The Ambassador, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary: Salvador Samayoa told us of a "Plan B" in the
works to insulate El Salvador from (leftist) FMLN mischief
should Mauricio Funes win the March 2009 election. The draft
plan is reportedly focused on preventing a catastrophic
(conservative, pro-U.S.) ARENA loss in the Legislative
Assembly, early selection of Supreme Court magistrates by the
current Assembly, and legislative strengthening of existing
Salvadoran institutions before the 2009 elections. End
Summary.

2. (C) Salvador Samayoa, peace accords negotiator, former
FMLN member, and now member of the National Development
Commission and political commentator, told PolCouns July 11
of consensus among the former ARENA presidents and others of
the need for a "Plan B" should the FMLN's Mauricio Funes
defeat ARENA candidate Rodrigo Avila in March 2009 elections.
Samayoa described an undisclosed meeting he attended in late
June of the former ARENA presidents (Cristiani and Calderon
Sol attended; Flores sent a personal representative) and
Salvadoran business leaders including Roberto Murray Mesa,
Ricardo Poma, and Arturo Sagrera. Former President Cristiani
reportedly told the group that while he had serious doubts
about Avila's ability to win the election, they should all do
everything in their power to secure his victory. That said,
he proposed, and the group concurred, that given the risk of
a Funes victory, they needed to develop a "Plan B" in order
to "save El Salvador" should Funes win the election.
Cristiani proposed elaborating such a plan then having the
former Presidents present it to Salvadoran President Saca,
explain their support for Avila's candidacy and campaign, but
alert him to their concerns of a Funes victory and inform him
of their efforts.

3. (C) As described by Samayoa, the plan has several
components, two of which Samayoa believes are the most
important. He said the group is elaborating a plan to
maintain near parity between the FMLN and ARENA in the
Legislative Assembly in January 2009 elections. Samayoa
offered few details, but said the entire group believed a
Funes government accompanied by a strong FMLN majority in the
Assembly would spell disaster for El Salvador.

4. (C) The other significant component of the plan would
focus on control of key institutions, including the Supreme
Court and Armed Forces. Concerning the Court, Samayoa noted
that five justices must be replaced by July 1, 2009, four of
whom sit in the constitutional chamber of the Court. The
group believes it is essential their replacements be decided
by the current Legislative Assembly (standard practice since
the 1992 peace accords) not postponed until the Assembly to
be elected in January 2009 is seated May 1 of that year.
While the group expects complaints and opposition from the
FMLN, they believe electing the new magistrates is
achievable, but it will be difficult, since each must secure
a 2/3 majority (56 of 84 deputies). Samayoa said that in
addition to support from its usual allies, ARENA would need
the support of sometimes FMLN ally CD (Cambio Democratica or
Democratic Change) and would still need to "buy" two more
votes from the FMLN. Regarding the Salvadoran Armed Forces,
Samayoa only said the plan envisaged ensuring the Armed
Forces were well cared for and in a position to maintain
their independence.

5. (C) Samayoa lamented the arbitrary way the Saca government
had manipulated Salvadoran ministries and other institutions
(including the Attorney General's Office) to pursue its own
political ends and to satisfy the desires of political allies
in and out of government. A Funes government would be
delighted to inherit a government structure that was so
undisciplined and easily manipulated, therefore the group of
former presidents plans to propose several key legislative
reforms to impose order before the 2009 elections.

6. (C) Comment: Samayoa makes no attempt to hide his
disappointment in Avila and his candidacy. He is equally
disdainful of those in ARENA who are solely focused on the
March 2009 presidential election and believes that by
ignoring the January legislative vote, they put El Salvador's
future at risk. While the former Presidents' (and others')
pessimism is bad news for Avila, the fact that they are
taking a long view and attempting to fireproof El Salvador
from feared FMLN mischief is reassuring. We will report
separately on Avila's successful Sunday, July 12 mega-rally
in one of San Salvador's big soccer stadiums.

GLAZER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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