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Cablegate: Opposition Parties Protest Parliamentary Seat Allocation

VZCZCXRO2370
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHLU #0748 2671643
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231643Z SEP 08 ZDK CTG RUEHSD0245
FM AMEMBASSY LUANDA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5044
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS LUANDA 000748

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (PARA MARKINGS)

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E. O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL AO
SUBJECT: OPPOSITION PARTIES PROTEST PARLIAMENTARY SEAT ALLOCATION

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Opposition party Front for Democracy (FpD) filed a
legal appeal on September 18, contesting the constitutionality of
the method used by the National Electoral Commission (CNE) to
allocate parliamentary seats among the winners of the September 5-6
legislative contest. The complaint, which has received coverage in
the independent press, is likely to be dismissed by the Court. END
SUMMARY

2. (SBU) The FpD's appeal focuses on the CNE's use of the D'Hondt
method to allocate seats in Angola's proportional National Assembly.
The FpD argues that Angola's Constitution requires that seats be
allocated according to "a system of proportional representation,"
which the party views as meaning a method of strict
proportionality.

3. (SBU) In its September 22 response to the FpD appeal, the CNE
noted that Angola's Electoral Law identifies the D'Hondt Method as
the methodology for the allocation of seats the National Assembly,
in accordance with the Constitution. The CNE adds that as the
Electoral Law was passed by Parliament, the use of the D'Hondt
Method was debated and approved by the Assembly, with the
participation of opposition parties. The Constitutional Court is
expected to respond to the petition and the CNE's response by
September 25th.

4. (SBU) The D'Hondt method favors large parties and over scattered
small parties. While use of this method would not significantly
alter the MPLA's large majority (reftel), it would give two
additional parties seats in the new Parliament. The MPLA would have
181 seats rather than 191, UNITA would have 23 seats as against the
16 currently attributed to it, PRS would stay at 8 seats, FNLA at 3
seats and the ND at 2 seats, and two parties represented in the
previous parliament - PLD and PLD-ANA - would survive with one seat
each. PDP-ANA President Sediangani Mbimbi had stated that his party
also intends to file a protest to the allocation of seats based on
FpD's complaint.

5. (SBU) Comment. The case has gotten some play in Angola's
independent press. Nonetheless, the complaint is probably
unfounded, and we expect the court to dismiss it. End Comment.

MOZENA

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