Search

 

Cablegate: Nicaragua Elections: Fsln Confident of First Round

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #1731/01 2212239
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 092239Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7193
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0748
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 3758
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAGUA 001731

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM SOCI NU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUA ELECTIONS: FSLN CONFIDENT OF FIRST ROUND
VICTORY

REF: A. MANAGUA 1565
B. 05 MANAGUA 2806

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

1. (C) Summary: With FSLN internal polls supposedly
demonstrating an 8-10 point lead over the nearest challenger,
FSLN Foreign Affairs officer Samuel Santos is confident that
perennial FSLN presidential candidate Daniel Ortega can win
in the first round of elections. The FSLN's confidence was
further demonstrated by the party's recent proposal to repeal
the constitutional reforms earlier enacted (and then
postponed) by the PLC-FSLN pact that would significantly
weaken the presidency. Santos claims that an Ortega
administration desires a positive relationship with the USG
and will not interfere with the market economy or withdraw
from CAFTA. He does not believe that the production and
distribution of cedulas (national/voter ID cards) is a major
problem, although he does not deny charges of inappropriate
partisan behavior on the part of Nicaragua's Supreme
Electoral Council. End Summary.

2. (C) FSLN Foreign Affairs officer Samuel Santos told
Ambassador, DCM and poloff on August 7 that he is confident
that FSLN presidential candidate Daniel Ortega can win in the
first round of elections on November 5. Santos claimed that
FSLN internal polls show an 8-10 point lead for Ortega over
the next strongest candidate. While he would not reveal the
runner up, he commented that the FSLN is more concerned about
competition from the PLC than the FSLN as "Montealegre does
not have real support in the interior" of Nicaragua. The
FSLN plans to recruit enough fiscales (party poll watchers)
to cover all of the voting tables in Nicaragua (some 11,000)
"to avoid the problems that Lopez Obrador had in Mexico
"because his party was absent at 30 percent of the voting
centers," Santos explained.

3. (C) Ambassador queried Santos regarding the FSLN's sudden
enthusiasm for a National Assembly vote to repeal
constitutional reforms (currently suspended by the Ley Marco)
that were earlier enacted by the PLC-FSLN pact to strip
powers from the executive branch (Ref B). He responded that
the FSLN is fighting an "image war" with the PLC (which has
proposed a referendum on the reforms), and that many people
in the party "believe in the power of the presidency."
(Comment: Rather than sincere concerns regarding the
existential nature of Nicaraguan government, the FSLN's
sudden about-face concerning the constitutional reforms is
more likely a reflection of their confidence that Ortega can
win in the first round of voting. End Comment.)

4. (C) Ambassador challenged Santos' claim that the FSLN
would like to enjoy positive relations with the USG by
mentioning Ortega's July 19 speech in which he promised to
discard CAFTA for ALBA (the Venezuelan alternative), plan a
"mixed economy," funnel remittances through a government
agency, cancel agricultural debts, and offer subsidies to a
wide range of producers. Santos stated that the FSLN
government plan is not yet "fully realized" and that Ortega
made several promises "in the heat of the moment." He
claimed that a "mixed economy" only refers to more government
oversight (presumably benign) in a "few key industries" and
that it would be "stupid" for the FSLN to reject CAFTA.

5. (C) Santos later discussed the Supreme Electoral Council
(CSE) and the problems with the cedula (national/voter ID)
production and distribution process (Ref A). After stating
that he personally did not think that the civil registry
should be part of the CSE, he downplayed the cedula problems,
claiming that the vast majority of Nicaraguans have the
document and recounting an anecdote in which CSE personnel
visited Managua high schools, including his daughter's, to
help students apply for their cedulas. Santos admitted that
the CSE is often overly defensive regarding criticism and
emphasized the need for a "positive environment." He
refused, however, to refute the Ambassador's and DCM's
charges that the CSE -- a theoretically independent body --
has behaved in a partisan manner by facilitating cedula
applications for FSLN members.

6. (C) Comment: Both ALN and FSLN representatives have
recently expressed assurances in private that their candidate
will win in the first round, although neither Ortega nor
Eduardo Montealegre has polled above 35 percent of the vote

(in reputable, publicly released polls), the lowest threshold
to enable a first-round victory (with a 5 percent lead over
the next candidate). Some non-FSLN contacts insist that
Ortega has reached a voter ceiling of about 32 percent, a
calculation supported by the consistently large number of
citizens who claim to pollsters that they would never vote
for him. Nevertheless, the FSLN is clearly the best-financed
party and its operatives are working diligently to push
Ortega over the 35-percent threshold.
TRIVELLI

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

OECD: COVID-19 Crisis Puts Migration And Progress On Integration At Risk, Says

Watch the live webcast of the press conference Migration flows have increased over the past decade and some progress has been made to improve the integration of immigrants in the host countries. But some of these gains may be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic ... More>>


Pacific Media Watch: How Pacific Environmental Defenders Are Coping With The Covid Pandemic

SPECIAL REPORT: By Sri Krishnamurthi of Pacific Media Watch Pacific Climate Warriors - creative action to trigger better responses to climate crisis. Image: ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>

OHCHR: Stranded Migrants Need Safe And Dignified Return – UN Migrant Workers Committee

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers has today called on governments to take immediate action to address the inhumane conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to ... More>>