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Cablegate: Mpn Warns of Cedula Irregularities

VZCZCXYZ0003
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #1565 1991527
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 181527Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6997
INFO RUEHMU/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAGUA 001565

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CEN AND USOAS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/14/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM KCOR SOCI OAS NU
SUBJECT: MPN WARNS OF CEDULA IRREGULARITIES


Classified By: Ambassador Paul Trivelli for reasons 1.4 (b and d)

1. (C) Summary: Movimiento por Nicaragua (MpN) leaders warned
poloffs on July 14 that Nicaragua's Supreme Electoral Council
(CSE) is failing to issue national/voter ID cards (cedulas)
in a fair and efficient manner. A recent MpN study of
eligible voters in secondary schools revealed that only 18
percent of students aged 16 to 18 currently possess their
cedula. They also reported irregularities with cedula
issuances and presented copies of cedula application forms
with no names filled in that were nevertheless approved for
processing. MpN will present this evidence to the OAS and
other members of the international community as well as the
Nicaraguan media. End Summary.

2. (C) On July 14, poloffs met with MpN Executive Director
Pilar Martinez and Board Members Klaus Stadthagen and Aurora
Gurdian to discuss MpN's recent study of the cedulation
process. MpN interviewed 13,381 secondary school students at
134 schools throughout Nicaragua to inquire about their
cedula status. Of the total, 6,009 (45%) do not possess a
cedula, 4,160 (31%) have applied for a cedula, and only 2,204
(18%) actually have a cedula. The study also inquired
whether the students had birth certificates (a requirement to
apply for a cedula), but most were uncertain.

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3. (C) During the study, MpN witnessed or heard about several
irregularities regarding cedula issuances. In the rural
municipality of Rio Blanco, department of Matagalpa, MpN
discovered several cedula applications approved by the local
Departmental Electoral Council (CED) that had photos, but no
names. Martinez noted that these cedulas could potentially
be used by unqualified impostors. In addition, MpN officials
heard rumors of "cedula houses" where FSLN and PLC activists
can apply for and receive expedited cedulas, although they
have not yet been able to verify the validity of these claims.

4. (C) MpN will submit the study results and reports of
irregularities to the OAS, Carter Center, IFES, European
Union and Elections Donor Group, hoping that the
international community will pressure the CSE to issue
cedulas to young adults in a more pro-active and nonpartisan
manner. Polcouns urged the group to also bring public
pressure to bear on the CSE by using the media and organizing
protests if necessary.

5. (C) Comment: The August 6 deadline is part of Nicaragua's
Citizen Identification Law (all cedulas must be applied for
90 days before the registration). Nevertheless, MpN will
pressure the CSE to move the date or provide for some kind of
alternative documentation if the percentage of eligible youth
voters without cedulas remains high. Liberal Constitutional
Party (PLC) and Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN) lawmakers
recently amended the Citizen Identification Law and could do
so again. Ambassador will meet with OAS electoral
observation mission chiefs on July 18 to discuss the MpN
study and other elections issues. For the November 5
elections to be considered truly democratic, they must be
inclusive, which will not occur if large segments of the
population remain disenfranchised.
TRIVELLI

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