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Cablegate: Elections: Correa Backs Down, Official Results Out

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FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5490
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 6087
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 2097
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ OCT 0155
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 1062
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 1303
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RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS QUITO 002544

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SENSITIVE
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PLEASE PASS ALSO TO USOAS AND USAID/LAC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PGOV EC
SUBJECT: ELECTIONS: CORREA BACKS DOWN, OFFICIAL RESULTS OUT
SOON

1. (SBU) Summary: Ecuador's electoral authorities told the
press on October 17 that they expect final official
presidential results no later than October 22 and possibly by
the 19th, to be followed Congressional and other results by
October 25, at the latest. Current official tabulations of
60% of the votes show Noboa ahead by a slim margin, and
reflect reporting from smaller provinces; we expect Noboa's
margin over Correa to grow with results from the larger
coastal provinces. Correa continues to allege fraud, but has
called on his supporters to "turn the page" on the first
round and focus on winning in the second round. Prospects
for serious post-electoral conflict diminished as election
officials and independent observers helped manage
expectations and reassured the public their votes would not
be lost or manipulated. End Summary.

Results coming in
-----------------

2. (U) The current official count finally became available
to the public on the TSE website, www.tse.gov.ec, on October
17. With 59.9% of the count complete, official results as of
the writing of this report are as follows:

Noboa - 25.31%
Correa - 24.58%
Gutierrez - 16.08%
Roldos - 15.77%
Viteri - 9.45%

Correa Calls off Protests
-------------------------

3. (SBU) The Correa concession signal came from Gustavo
Larrea, chief political advisor, who publicly called on
Correa's supporters to "turn the page" on the first round
results, and "face with dignity the second round" challenge.
"This does not signify forgetting about fraud, we must be
vigilant, but our supporters need to return to campaign in
all provinces." A street demonstration against E-Vote at TSE
headquarters organized by rabble-rousing radio station La
Luna fizzled on October 16, attracting only 400.

Officials Begin Managing Expectations
-------------------------------------

4. (SBU) After a day of speculation after the TSE-contracted
quick count failed, provincial election authorities proceeded
in the manual tabulation of election booth results. TSE
President Xavier Cazar told the public that final results of
the presidential race could be expected between October
19-22. Congressional and other results would follow by
October 25, within the legally mandated 10-day post-election
period. He noted that the TSE's unofficial results
corresponded to those collected in quick counts administered
by the OAS and the local election watchdog NGO, Citizen
Participation. The TSE website began reporting the initial
results sent in by the more efficient provincial election
boards, generally more complete for smaller provinces, on
October 17.

5. (SBU) On October 17, OAS Chief of Mission Rafael Bielsa
held a press conference to issue a report describing OAS
observation of the election process and calling on the TSE to
speed up its manual count and maximize transparency. Bielsa
assured the public that the official vote count was
proceeding apace, under the scrutiny of political parties to
detect and prevent fraud. The OAS is not aware of any
evidence of fraud affecting results. The voting on October
15 proceeded normally, with a few regrettable incidents in
isolated areas which did not alter national results.

6. (SBU) Bielsa said the OAS observation mission would
continue to follow the official vote count process closely.
He denied any personal political bias and acknowledged that
he knew Santiago Murray, the head of the discredited E-Vote,
who had past OAS observer experience. He emphasized that the
OAS had no relationship with E-Vote and had strongly
cautioned the TSE in writing about problems associated with
E-Vote's methodology.

Comment

-------

7. (SBU) Correa's statement on October 17 should help calm
the waters here. Gutierrez supporters are also disgruntled,
and privately believe the quick count was aborted because
Gutierrez' rise began to challenge Correa for second place.
Though far-fetched, this line of speculation illustrates
Gutierrez camp paranoia. Both Correa and Noboa are signaling
openness to other political Factions and their voters, if not
actual alliances, which have negative connotations here.
Lucio Gutierrez publicly issued a set of demands in exchange
for his support in the second round--they consist of punitive
actions against individuals who contributed to his
destitution.

8. (SBU) After initial post-electoral paralysis, election
authorities are getting their act together and focusing on
informing the public. Unjustified attacks continue to dog
Bielsa, however. The TSE's black eye with the quick vote and
the aspersions about Bielsa's impartiality create a
challenging environment for November 26 if the vote is close.
We will privately encourage the TSE develop their game plan
and effectively manage expectations for the next round.
JEWELL

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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