Search

 

Cablegate: Abel Alier Declines Elections Commission Chairmanship

VZCZCXRO5200
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1522/01 2881246
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 141246Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2070
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001522

DEPT FOR A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG, DRL
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM EAID PINS SU
SUBJECT: ABEL ALIER DECLINES ELECTIONS COMMISSION CHAIRMANSHIP

1. (SBU) Summary: Abel Alier informed GOSS Vice President Riek
Machar Teny and GNU Vice President Ali Osman Taha on October 13 of
his intention to decline the chairmanship of Sudan's yet-to-be
formed National Elections Commission (NEC). Alier, currently in
Juba, paid a call on Machar to deliver the news personally, and
called Taha from the GOSS Vice President's office to notify the NCP
of his decision. This news came one day before the National
Assembly was due to reconvene in Khartoum. GoSS Vice President
Machar had utilized the Sixth Annual Governor's Forum in Juba to
announce that President Bashir's decree on the National Elections
Commission would be tabled before the National Assembly for its
approval this week - Alier's decision now makes this an
impossibility. End Summary.

2. (SBU) SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum told CG Juba on the
evening of October 13 that he met with Alier earlier that day at the
direction of SPLM Party Chairman Salva Kiir Mayardit in an attempt
to persuade Alier to reconsider his decision. Amum noted that, "if
Alier does not reverse his decision, we have no other options."
According to GoSS Minister for Presidential Affairs Luka Biong Deng,
Alier's decision comes days after the NCP and SPLM acted jointly to
quash a move by would-be NEC Deputy Chairman Abdulla Idris to
similarly reject his position as deputy. During a CG Juba meeting
with Deng on October 11, Deng claimed that NCP State Minister for
Presidential Affairs Idriss Abdelgadir said on 9 October that Idris
would "be handled" - forced to drop his consistent objections to the
Deputy NEC Chairmanship so that the NEC could be tabled before the
National Assembly this week. (Note: Idris told Embassy poloff on
September 18 that he had refused the position of NEC Deputy Chairman
several times in order to remain co-chairman of the National
Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC), despite consistent pressure
from the NCP for him to take on an NEC leadership role. Idris
claimed that he wanted to remain at the NCRC in order to work on
drafting the referendum law that will provide Southerners with a
right to self-determination in 2011. End note.)

3. (SBU) Pressed on what might have led to Alier's reversal (he had
pledged to USAID staff in mid-September that he would gladly accept
the position), Amum maintained that Alier is increasingly troubled
by doubts over the depth of the NCP's commitment to free and fair
elections. While Amum said Alier will publicly cite advancing age
and waning energy levels as the reasons for his demurral, Alier told
Amum that he saw only two elections scenarios for Sudan: a
rigged-victory by the NCP, or national-level elections finally held
only after Alier personally spent months hammering away at NCP
intransigence and obstacles. "He does not want to be forced to
confront the NCP alone," Amum said, "and he does not want to be held
responsible for the mess if we were to move forward with elections
in the current context," a direct reference to the myriad of
existing national-level laws that continue to be in conflict to the
CPA and Interim National Constitution. [Comment: At present, some
of these laws -- notably the National Security Act and Media Act --
make free and fair elections a technical impossibility in Sudan and
demand reform. End Comment.]

4. (SBU) Amum hoped he had persuaded Alier to reconsider his
decision, but was not confident that he had done so. He noted that
the pair agreed to meet again on October 14 before Alier made his
sentiments publicly known. Given Alier's unease about chairing a
potentially illegitimate elections process, ConGen PolOff requested
that Amum advise Alier of the planned U.S. commitment of $70 million
worth of USAID technical assistance to the NEC, and noted that
ConGen staff stood ready to brief Alier on how such assistance could
help safeguard the NEC's neutrality and expand the Commission's
political heft. Amum agreed to pass the message, noting the utility
of such a briefing in perhaps moving Alier toward a positive
reconsideration of his position.

5. (SBU) In a separate meeting with SPLM Deputy Secretary General of
the Northern Sector Yasir Arman in Khartoum on 13 October, Arman
told poloffs that the NCP and the SPLM had agreed upon the make-up
of the nine-person NEC, which the GNU Presidency planned to reveal
to the Parliament this week, but that the NCP is now having "second
thoughts" on the list. Arman stated that the NCP "is not happy"
about having Abel Alier act as the NEC Chairman, but that it is
impossible to lobby against his candidacy due to his
nationally-respected status and penchant for neutrality. Arman also
said that Idris has refused the position of Deputy NEC Chairman
because while he is an equal with Alier in the NCRC, he would have
to act as Alier's Deputy if he were to take up the NEC role.
[Comment: While Arman's assessment is an interesting one regarding
the dynamics between Idris and Alier, it is more likely that Idris
fears a train-wreck electoral process just as much as Alier, hence
his decision to decline the role of NEC Deputy Chairman. End
comment).

KHARTOUM 00001522 002 OF 002

6. (SBU) Comment: While there is a mounting sense of urgency that
an NEC must be agreed upon and instated soon if elections are to
happen at all in 2009, uncertainty and speculation abound regarding
the willingness (or unwillingness) of Alier and Idris to take up the
leadership of the NEC. Given Idris' refusal of the Deputy Chair
position several times and Alier's plans to turn down the Chairman
role publicly on 14 October unless convinced otherwise, the future
of an energetic, prepared, and nationally-respected NEC is in
serious jeopardy. Embassy Khartoum will meet with Alier and Idris
immediately to emphasize the importance of setting in motion the
preparation for free and fair elections in Sudan as part of the
implementation of the CPA. Embassy Khartoum will also highlight the
importance of having NEC leaders who are viewed as capable, neutral
figures respected by all political parties and civil society and
will attempt to convince Alier and Idris to accept the NEC
positions.

7. Bio Note: Alier was catapulted into the "regional presidency"
following the 1972 Addis Ababa agreement that ended Sudan's first
North/South civil war. A noted author of Sudanese history and the
nation's present constitution, Alier is viewed equally by both the
National Congress Party and Sudanese People's Liberation Movement as
the lead representative of Sudanese political neutrality. Alier and
Idris are co-chairs of the National Constitutional Review
Commission. End Note.

ASQUINO

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: