Cablegate: Elections Sitrep 2: Orderly Voting Concludes,
DE RUEHYN #2700 2660448
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 230448Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY SANAA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5394
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS SANAA 002700
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM YM
SUBJECT: ELECTIONS SITREP 2: ORDERLY VOTING CONCLUDES,
TREPIDATION AS COUNTING BEGINS
REF: SANAA 2696
1. (SBU) Polls officially closed across Yemen at 2000L.
International and local observers contacted by post
universally agreed that voting was conducted in a generally
peaceful and orderly manner. There were no reports of
widespread violence and unconfirmed reports of isolated
incidents were focused mainly in the provinces of al-Jawf and
Dhamar. Official tabulation has now begun, and both election
officials and observers expect that the counting will be
tense and could produce additional violent incidents.
2. (SBU) Reliable sources confirm one casualty in Taiz from
election related-violence previously reported (reftel).
International and local media report individual deaths in
Amran and Dhammar, but these have not been confirmed. A
senior ruling party official and a spokesman from the Supreme
Commission on Elections and Referenda (SCER) stated that a
local election commission chief was killed in Hajja. Richard
Chambers, Deputy Chief Observer for the European Union, said
that EU observers have thus far not had any security issues
themselves. Chambers remarked that the SCER has been very
open in reporting violence and killings.
3. (SBU) Both the ruling party and the opposition have
lodged a number of complaints with the SCER, but independent
and partisan observers agree that the voting process has thus
far been a significant improvement over the last national
elections in 2003. Poloffs, journalists, and European and
National Democratic Institute (NDI) observers all report high
turnout and an upbeat mood throughout the country.
4. (SBU) European and NDI observers expressed concern that
voting centers in the provinces of Mahweet and al-Jawf were
closed due to violence. It is unclear how widespread the
problem is, who is at fault, or if voters in those locations
will be allowed to vote on another day.
5. (SBU) Judging from previous elections, observers and
SCER officials have told post that they expect the counting
phase to be tense with the potential to generate violence.
While the electoral process has so far progressed smoothly,
this next phase will be the true test of whether or not this
election can be judged a success.