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Cablegate: Elections Update: Psp-Prian Form Alliance;

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DE RUEHQT #1837/01 2081915
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FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4929
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 5822
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1889
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUL 9970
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RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS QUITO 001837

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EC
SUBJECT: ELECTIONS UPDATE: PSP-PRIAN FORM ALLIANCE;
INDIGENOUS FRAGMENTATION CONTINUES

REF: QUITO 01772

1. (U) Summary: Lucio Gutierrez, PSP and Alvaro Noboa's
PRIAN announced on July 26 that the two parties would form an
alliance for the presidential ticket. Gutierrez publicly
asked Noboa to reenter the presidential race at the top of
the PRIAN-PSP ticket. Noboa, however, has not responded
publicly but is rumored to be considering the proposal.
Meanwhile, a contentious Pachakutik primary election for a
congressional seat from the Cotopaxi Province on July 21
revealed deepening internal party tensions and a fractured
far-left approaching national elections. End Summary.

PRIAN & PSP Unite
-----------------

2. (U) The PSP and PRIAN announced on July 26 that they
would form an alliance for the Oct 15 presidential election.
PRIAN will reportedly provide the presidential candidate
while PSP will fill the vice presidential slot -- probably
with Lucio Gutierrez's brother Gilmar. An announcement on
the selected candidates is expected later this week.

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3. (U) Confirmation of the alliance comes after a week of
speculation by political insiders and the media, and is
rumored to have opened the door for Alvaro Noboa's return to
the campaign trail. Ex-president Lucio Gutierrez publicly
asked Noboa to consider reentering the race. Noboa, however,
has not responded publicly, but is rumored to be considering
the proposal.

4. (U) In a meeting with PolOffs on July 19, PRIAN
congressman and national coordinator for elections Vicente
Taiano noted that the PRIAN and PSP parties share a similar
brand of populism (including a commitment to market-based
solutions and free trade) and that Gutierrez and Noboa get
along very well. He also commented that an alliance with
Abdala Bucaram's PRE was very unlikely, as their style of
populism -- especially with respect to economic policy -- was
too different.

5. (U) Taiano also said that many in the PRIAN were upset
with Noboa's decision to dropout, but claimed that Noboa had
done so to save the country from the instability that would
be caused by those who would never accept Noboa's presidency.
Taiano said that Noboa would likely not run for president
again, but did not rule out that Noboa could be convinced to
rejoin the race.

Pachakutik's Internal Woes Continue
-----------------------------------

6. (SBU) Pachakutik's refusal to ally themselves with Rafael
Correa's presidential candidacy and instead name their own
candidate, Luis Macas, has left many indigenous voters
undecided. Pachakutik Congressman Jorge Guaman told PolOff
on July 20 that the poll numbers for Macas do not accurately
depict his popularity, but conceded that there was worry that
a large segment of the indigenous would support Correa.

7. (SBU) Antonio Ricaurte, a former Pachakutik politician
who left the party to join the Leon Roldos (RED-ID) campaign,
told PolOff on July 20 that he thought Macas would only
garner a maximum of 4% of the vote, and that Auki Tituana,
the popular Pachakutik mayor of Cotacachi, was furious that
he did not receive Pachakutik's presidential nomination.
Ricaurte also commented that Pachakutik's unwillingness to
enter an alliance with Correa would cause them to lose
several Congressional seats.

8. (U) Raul Ilaquiche, the former vice president of the
ECUARUNARI indigenous organization, defeated incumbent
Congressman and Vice President of the Congress, Jorge Guaman,
and Carlos Riofrio, a close associate of Cotopaxi Prefect
Cesar Umajinga, in the July 21 primary elections for the
Pachakutik congressional seat for Cotopaxi Province.

9. (U) The contentious primary in the indigenous heartland
province, which revealed a deepening division within the
party, was bitterly denounced by both Guaman and Umajinga,
who accused Ilaquiche's wife, Lourdes Tiban, the Executive
Secretary of the Council for Development of Ecuador's

SIPDIS
Indigenous Nations and People (CODENPE), of buying Ilaquiche
the election. Lourdes Tiban had recently donated 3.8 million
USD to various communities in Cotopaxi through the agency.

Ilaquiche defended his wife, saying that it was her
obligation as Executive Secretary of CODENPE to distribute
resources to indigenous communities.

Don't Talk to the Gringos
-------------------------

10. (SBU) There appears to be division within the ranks of
Pachakutik and Confederation of Ecuadorian Indian Nations
(CONAIE) on the level of interaction they should have with
the Embassy. Luis Macas, head of CONAIE, has refused
invitations from the Ambassador, and has advised his
organization to avoid dialogue with the USG. However, CONAIE
Vice President Santiago de la Cruz and Congressman Jorge
Guaman each expressed interest in open dialogue to PolOff.
Additionally, spurned Pachakutik candidate-hopeful, Cotacachi
Mayor Auki Tituana, recently invited the Ambassador to visit
Cotacachi in late August.


Latest Poll Figures
-------------------

11. (U) A nationwide "Informe Confidencial" poll published
in Quito daily "El Comercio" on July 22 showed that 64% of
Ecuadorian voters remain undecided. When asked which
candidate they would pick if the election were today, 29% of
respondents chose Leon Roldos (RED-ID), 17% chose Cynthia
Viteri (PSC), and 10% picked Correa. Another poll, published
by CEDATOS showed that 41 % of voters were undecided and that
Roldos led with 23%, and was followed by Viteri with 16% and
Correa with 11%.

Comment
-------

12. (SBU) The PRIAN-PSP alliance, with Noboa at the helm and
with Gutierrez' support, could produce a strong showing in
the October elections, possibly making it to the second
round. Gutierrez and Noboa had each been receiving about 15%
support in polls, and separately they garnered about 5
million votes in the last election. A strong PRIAN-PSP
alliance would likely harm Viteri's PSC and to a lesser
extent Correa. With Pachakutik's continuing fragmentation,
indigenous votes will probably be spread among various
candidates, undermining their potential power as a unified
bloc behind any single candidate.
BROWN

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