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Cablegate: Cote D'ivoire: New Electoral Commission to Be Headed By

VZCZCXRO4455
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHAB #0081/01 0571555
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261555Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0190
INFO ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0025

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABIDJAN 000081

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM EAID IV
SUBJECT: COTE D'IVOIRE: NEW ELECTORAL COMMISSION TO BE HEADED BY
FORMER FM BAKAYOKO

REF: ABIDJAN 77

1. (U) Summary: A slightly revised Independent Electoral
Commission (CEI) was sworn-in by the President of the
Constitutional Court on February 25, with former Foreign Minister
Youssouf Bakayoko as its new president. The opposition has
reportedly called a halt to further demonstrations and is
finalizing its participation in the reshuffled government announced
on February 23. Completing the electoral list will be the CEI's
first and most important task. End Summary

ELECTORAL COMMISSION RECONSTITUTED

--------------------------------------------- --------

2. (SBU) Speculation about who would head the new electoral
commission was rampant in the days leading up to the February 25
announcement, with many convinced that a Forces Nouvelles
representative would prevail given the current enmity among the
political parties. The selection of Youssouf Bakayoko, a long-time
PDCI loyalist and Foreign Minister until February 12, was
completely unexpected. Bakayoko is widely respected for his
professionalism, a trait it is hoped he will bring to the CEI more
visibly than his predecessor, Robert Mambe. Four new vice
presidents were also announced: Eby Ndabia, a former prefect, will
represent the FPI (presidential party); Jacob Anaky, brother of the
MFA founder, will represent that small opposition party; Mamadou
Coulibaly Gnenema, formerly the CEI treasurer, moves to being vice
president for the Forces Nouvelles; and Amadou Soumahoro, the
former Commerce Minister, will represent the RDR.

3. (SBU) The new leadership team was sworn-in the evening of Feb.
25 along with the twenty-five members of the CEI who were retained
per the agreement brokered by Pres. Compaore during his most recent
visit to Abidjan. (ref A) The oath was delivered by
Constitutional Court president Yapo Germain Yanon, a symbolically
important choice made by the government to reinforce the authority
of this court over the commission. The commission will resume work
the week of March 1 and is expected to announce that challenges to
the provisional electoral list will be accepted for an additional
three week period. Individuals who names have not been "validated"
will also have an additional three weeks to come forward with proof
of citizenship.

NEW GOVERNMENT STILL NOT COMPLETE

--------------------------------------------- ------

4. (U) According to local media, the opposition continues talks
with Prime Minister Soro about their participation in the new
government, which was formed on February 24 with eleven slots
reserved for the opposition, but no ministers actually named
(reftel). However, a spokesman for the opposition coalition told
the press that they would stop calling on their supporters to
conduct demonstrations to protest President Gbagbo's February 12
dissolution of the government. The PDCI, RDR, and UDPCI should
announce their representatives in the new government by Monday.

5. (SBU) Comment: The election of Bakayoko, a well-regarded
career diplomat (former Ambassador to Germany and Switzerland),
sends a positive signal that, while party affiliations are
important, ability also played a crucial role in the selection of
the new CEI president. Embassy had a very productive and friendly
relationship with him in his role as Foreign Minister and expects
to continue to have good access to him. His selection, which we
understand Pres. Gbagbo had to agree to, should also reassure the
opposition that the presidency can support a CEI president from
another party, as long as he operates in a professional,
non-partisan manner. The reconstitution of the CEI should enable
the electoral process to regain the momentum it has lost since the
beginning of the year. Their first task will be to complete work
on the preliminary electoral list and publish a final list within a
reasonable timeframe. If the CEI succeeds in doing this, their

ABIDJAN 00000081 002 OF 002


credibility will increase, as will hope that an election this year
may truly be possible.
NESBITT

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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