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Cablegate: Paigc Set to Prevail in Peaceful and Orderly Guinea Bissau

VZCZCXRO9133
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHDK #1357 3301316
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251316Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1481
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS DAKAR 001357

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/W

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL XY PU
SUBJECT: PAIGC SET TO PREVAIL IN PEACEFUL AND ORDERLY GUINEA BISSAU
ELECTION

1. On November 14, 2008, POLCOUNS and two PolOffs traveled to
Guinea Bissau to observe the nation's first legislative election
since 2004. As observed by EmbOffs, the November 16 poll was calm
and relatively well-organized and executed. An estimated 72 percent
of registered voters turned out for the election that will establish
a new mandate for the National Assembly, dissolved in August, 2008.
Following weeks of exuberant campaigning, Election Day was marked by
peaceful enthusiasm and was void of the violence that has marred
other national elections since 2000.

2. EmbOffs observed the elections in the capital city of Bissau,
and the regional towns of Bafata, Gabu, and Buba. EmbOffs observed
several minor irregularities with the poll. For example, supplies
were lacking at certain polling stations, the ballot boxes were not
secured in strict accordance with National Electoral Commission
(CNE) guidelines, and the transportation and hand-over of the
counted ballots to district election officials was lacking in
standardization. Nevertheless, these technical issues appeared to
have no impact on the election results. Thanks in part to a
constant atmosphere of transparency, local election officials and
political party observers uniformly expressed to EmbOffs
satisfaction with the poll.

3. Over 150 international observers from the European Union (EU),
Japan, the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS), the West
African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the Community of
Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), and the United Nations (UN),
as well as Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom all expressed
satisfaction, either informally or formally, with the organization
and execution of the election. UN Special Envoy to Guinea-Bissau
Shola Omoregie called the election a "victory for democracy" and the
head of the EU long-term election observation mission, Jahan van
Hecke, declared himself "satisfied" with the election process.

4. Based on unofficial initial returns, the African Party for the
Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) appears headed towards
a landslide victory. In the voting precincts monitored by EmbOffs,
PAIGC won between 53 and 63 percent of the votes. Preliminary
returns suggest that the PAIGC could claim up to 17 of the 20
parliamentary seats in Bissau, and perhaps as many as 65 of the 100
seats in the National Assembly. The Party for Social Renewal (PRS)
appears headed for a distant second place finish. Official results
are scheduled to be released on November 21.

Bernicat

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