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Cablegate: Elections Update: National Assembly Elects

VZCZCXYZ0005
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKI #1939 3630955
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 290955Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5368
INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001939

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM CG ELECTIONS
SUBJECT: ELECTIONS UPDATE: NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTS
LEADERS WITH KAMERHE AS PRESIDENT

REF: KINSHASA 1928

1.(U) Summary. The new leadership of the National Assembly
was elected on December 28, with Vital Kamerhe chosen as
President. Six of the seven senior leadership positions were
filled during the first round of elections with absolute
majorities, with the seventh to be filled by a second round
election on December 29. Although all six first-round
choices come from different political parties, they are all
members of President Kabila's Alliance for the Presidential
Majority (AMP). However, addressing the multi-party support
which led to his victory, Kamerhe pledged to "accommodate the
opposition." End summary.

2. (U) The GDRC's new National Assembly elected its
Permanent Bureau on December 28 in a lengthy process that
ground on until the early morning hours. The election drew a
surprising number of delegates during the lull between the
Christmas and New Year's holidays, with 465 of the 500
Assembly delegates present and participating. As expected,
PPRD Secretary-General Vital Kamerhe is the new President of
the Assembly with 388 votes; his main opposition, Tshiongo
Tshibikumbula wa Tumba, also a PPRD member, withdrew in order

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SIPDIS
to maintain coalition solidarity.

3. (U) Even with Tshiongo's withdrawal, observers called the
margin "overwhelming," considering that the AMP can claim
only 332 deputies among its majority. Kamerhe acknowledged
the broad support which led to his victory, and pledged to
accommodate the opposition, stating that "I was also elected
by opposition MPs. I have well understood their message and
I will make sure that we guarantee the rights and privileges
of opposition MPs... we are going to ensure that the National
Assembly is the model of the nascent democracy in the
country."

4. (U) Christophe Lutundula won the position of First Vice
President with 338 votes over Mbenza Thubi, who was
previously serving as president of the provisional Bureau.
Marc Mvuama of Antoine Gizenga's Unified Party of Lumumbaists
(PALU) defeated the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo
(MLC) candidate and former President of the Transitional
Assembly Thomas Luhaka for the position of Second Vice
President. Katende wa Ndaya of the Forces for Renovation
(FR) won the position of Spokesman or "Rapporteur" with 379
votes, while Egide Ngokosso of the Union of Democratic
Mobutuists (UDEMO) was elected Deputy Spokesman or
"Rapporteur Adjoint" over several MLC candidates.

5. (U) For the position of "Questeur" (which manages
financial and administrative responsibilities), no candidate
reached an absolute majority, so a second round of voting
will be held on December 29. The position of assistant
financial/administrative officer or Deputy "Questeur" was won
by Brigitte Kalaba Sampwe of the Coalition of Congolese
Democrats (CODECO).

6. (SBU) Bio notes, Vital Kamerhe: Born in Bukavu, South
Kivu, in 1963, Vital Kamerhe is a member of the Mushi tribe.
He received his degree in economics from the University of
Kinshasa where he worked as a junior lecturer. He worked as
Counselor to Prime Minister Faustin Birindwa in 1993, and as
Counselor/Chief of Staff for Education Minister Mushobekwa.
Laurent Kabila appointed Kamerhe as negotiator during the
Lusaka peace process, after which he was appointed Deputy
Government Commissioner for MONUC and subsequently
Commissioner for MONUC. Kamerhe later became Information
Minister as well as Secretary-General of the PPRD. Vital
Kamerhe has strong influence with President Joseph Kabila; he
is a confidante of the President and speaks with him
regularly. He has been credited with contributing to
Kabila's electoral success in the Eastern Congo. Kamerhe
speaks French, Lingala, Tshiluba, Swahili, and Kikongo. End
bio notes.
DOUGHERTY

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