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Cablegate: President's Speech Kicks Off Official Campaign

VZCZCXRO3898
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHLU #0595/01 2181503
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051503Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY LUANDA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4939
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LUANDA 000595

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM AO
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT'S SPEECH KICKS OFF OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN
PERIOD

1. (U) In a nationally-broadcast speech to mark the launch of
the official 30-day campaign period for the September 5
legislative elections, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos
Santos lauded how the "achievement of peace" has allowed the
country to consolidate its political institutions, and
pledged to hold future legislative elections every four
years. Striking notes that were noticeably non-partisan, he
appealed to all citizens and political parties running in the
election to reject violence and inflammatory dialogue.

2. (SBU) Political parties also readied themselves to launch
their campaigns. The 30-day campaign period will include 10
minutes of daily airtime on state-controlled national radio
and 5 minutes on national television; most small parties,
short on funds for materials and rallies, are counting on
this time to spread their message. Observers predict that
state-controlled media outlets will continue to devote the
majority of their news broadcast time to stories on the
progress of national reconstruction and MPLA campaign
activities.

3. (SBU) For its part, the MPLA distributed copies of its
three-year governance plan and electoral manifesto to the
diplomatic community on August 4th. Paulo Jorge, the MPLA's
International Relations Secretary, told assembled diplomats
that the MPLA is so confident of its victory that it wants
other governments to know in advance what the GRA's
priorities will be for the next four years. While the
party's highest priority is passing a new constitution, he
also noted the MPLA's pledge to reduce unemployment, control
inflation, continue national reconstruction, and promote
agriculture.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: The President's speech was well-received
locally, and sets high expectations for a peaceful campaign
period. Though Dos Santos is also the MPLA party president,
the party's expectation for a wide margin of victory allows
him to "be presidential" and remain above the fray. Despite
the high rhetoric, the ruling party will continue to use its
near total media control to blanket voters with information
on MPLA-driven progress and plans. END COMMENT

5. (U) Informal translation of the President's speech follows:

Angolan people, dear fellow citizens,

Tomorrow marks the start of the electoral campaign for the
political parties and coalitions that will compete for the
220 seats in the National Assembly in the September 5, 2008
legislative elections.

These parties and coalitions will have airtime on national
radio and television to present their messages, plans for
governance and party platforms. Voters will have sufficient
time to analyze and think about the programs and projects
presented and afterwards, in a free and informed manner,
choose that which best corresponds to their personal ideas,
desires and political convictions.

On September 5th, starting at 7 in the morning, we will have
12,400 voting stations open throughout the country. Each
voting station will have up to four voting tables, so that
all Angolans properly registered to vote will be able to
exercise their civic right to vote in an organized, tranquil
and peaceful way.

This moment represents an unprecedented step in the
consolidation of political and institutional life in our
country and consolidation of democratic rule of law. From
here on out, legislative elections will be organized
regularly, held once every four years, as established by
Constitutional Law.

We fought hard to get to this point and everyone, without
exception, made sacrifices in favor of stability for our
country and its territorial integrity. Since the first
elections in 1992 we have always moved towards political
normalcy - sometimes slower, sometimes faster - overcoming
all the difficulties that we met along the way. We ensured
the regular functioning of state institutions, the
performance of the organs of government, the satisfaction of
collective needs, and the protection, respect and dignity of
citizens.

The achievement of peace, in 2002, opened new doors for
Angola. It permitted the reunion of the grand Angolan family
and the realization of the process of national pacification
and reconciliation, of which we are all proud today.

These elections are the culmination of this long process, and
permit the fulfillment of the rights of Angolans citizens of

LUANDA 00000595 002 OF 002


voting age.

Dear fellow citizens, in this campaign period we should
continue to maintain tranquility and an attitude of respect
and tolerance in relation to opinions that might be different
from ours. The maintenance of a serene and pacific
environment supports the success of the elections and
guarantees that each voter makes his choice in a responsible
manner. Free, just and competitive elections demand the
rejection of all forms of intimidation, insult, violation of
rights, and political destabilization.

I appeal to all citizens, political parties, and coalitions
to maintain a responsible posture, respecting law and public
order, so that the electoral campaign and election day can
unfold with high standards of civility. Angola can give an
example to our continent, and the world in general, about the
way to conduct democratic, free, and transparent elections.

We shouldn't yield to provocations. We are going to thwart
the predictions of those who, without any foundation, assert
that we might experience a climate of insecurity and
instability. Law enforcement officials are taking preventive
measures to guarantee tranquility and security throughout the
electoral process. There are no reasons for us to feed any
pessimistic or defeatist thought. We are a pacific people
and lovers of liberty.

The people are aware that big achievements in political,
economic and social realms are only achieved in peace,
stability and social harmony. The electoral campaign should
not take place under a banner of violence. In this
competition there are no enemies, there are only political
adversaries, with different platforms and proposals, which
will work to capture the largest number of votes in order to
win power and exercise it with legitimacy. Each party should
only utilize the weapon of its ideas in order to convince the
electorate, and voters will have as their weapon their vote
to choose whom they like, as established by laws in effect in
the country. Thus may the electoral campaign be conducted
under a banner of respect, honesty and liberty, so that it
contributes to the true enlightenment of citizens, and to
national unity and social cohesion.

If the political parties respect the legal norms in effect in
the conduct of their campaigns, all of us will be winners in
constructing the democratic country of our dreams. I am
certain that this is what will happen and that Angola will
prevail.

Long live Angola! Thank you.

End informal translation
MOZENA

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