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Cablegate: Strong Election Observation Effort to Assess

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SANAA 000875

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM YM DEMOCRATIC REFORM
SUBJECT: STRONG ELECTION OBSERVATION EFFORT TO ASSESS
YEMEN'S ELECTION

REF: A. SANAA 818

B. SANAA 706

1. Summary: Yemen's parliamentary election April 27 (refs
and septel) will benefit from a well-organized election
observation effort that will assess its outcome. Encouraged
by the ROYG, political parties and NGOs, more than 30,000
international and domestic observers will deploy on election
day. The National Democratic Institute (NDI) will field the
only official international delegation and plans to issue a
statement on April 29. End Summary.

2. (U) In an event striking for its contrast with some
other country leaders who discourage or disallow independent
election observation, President Saleh hosted a televised
event for all international observers at the Presidential
compound on April 23. President Saleh welcomed the observers
and said that Yemen has "attempted to learn from other
democratic experiments" and has worked hard to improve
election administration. He described efforts to ensure a
peaceful election and said that Yemen is committed to
democratic development. When challenged about the
disappointing number of women candidates running for
election, he encouraged all voters to elect women and
admitted that Yemen had to work harder on women,s inclusion
in political life while noting the difficulties involved
culturally in doing so. One National Democratic Institute
(NDI) observer told Pol/Econoff that she was "pleasantly
surprised" to get such a welcome after her observation
experience in Zimbabwe, noting that NDI, UNDP and IFES had
characterized the cooperation between internationals and the
ROYG during the election process to her as "constructive and
close" despite some difficulties.

3. (U) The 30-member international delegation from NDI
arrived in Yemen April 22. Members from 10 countries,
including Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Turkey,
comprise the NDI delegation, which includes members of
parliament, academics, NGO and political party activists,
journalists and former diplomats (including former U.S.
Ambassador to Yemen Charles Dunbar). Because of funding
constraints and security concerns, neither the UN nor the EU
was able to mount official observation efforts, making NDI,s
the only official international delegation. NDI plans to
issue its statement on the election on April 29.

4. (U) The NDI delegation will be joined by more informal
efforts by various embassies, including the U.S. Post will
deploy more than 20 observers to constituencies in Sanaa,
Aden and Hadramaut but plans to keep a low profile, both for
security reasons and to ensure the multi-country NDI
delegation remains at the forefront. Post has closely
coordinated within the Embassy and with NDI to ensure
appropriate security coverage for the observers by the ROYG.

5. (U) More than 30,000 domestic observers representing
NGOs, political parties and other actors have obtained
credentials to examine the election process. Of these,
6-10,000 are from non-partisan and experienced NGOs trained
by NDI, which should add valuable analysis to NDI,s official
statement.
HULL

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