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Cablegate: Aln Blocks Some Problematic Elements Of

VZCZCXRO8328
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHMU #2652/01 3402153
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 062153Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8385
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0857
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANAGUA 002652

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/06/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR KDEM NU
SUBJECT: ALN BLOCKS SOME PROBLEMATIC ELEMENTS OF
LEGISLATIVE REFORMS

REF: MANAGUA 2646

Classified By: Charge d'affaires Peter M. Brennan. Reasons 1.4 (B,D).

1. (SBU) Summary: The Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN)
partially succeeded in minimizing the effects of a ways and
means law supported by "pacted" Sandinista National
Liberation Front (FSLN) and Liberal Constitutional Party
(PLC) caucuses (Reftel). Vigorous ALN lobbying efforts
prompted the removal of some of the most egregious articles
of the "Organic Law" -- including a provision tailor-made to
facilitate amnesty for PLC caudillo/convicted money launderer
Arnoldo Aleman. However, the provision allowing for a secret
vote remains, as does the legislature's new authority to
summon Nicaraguan or foreign entities or individuals to
appear under oath before the Assembly, or face legal
proceedings that could lead to incarceration. ALN caucus
president Maria Eugenia Sequeira seeks more assistance to
help the ALN prepare its new lawmakers and to enable the ALN
and civil society counter the machinations of the FSLN-PLC
pact in the Assembly. End Summary.

AMNESTY PROVISION SQUASHED
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

2. (C) ALN caucus president Maria Eugenia Sequeira related
to polcouns on December 6 that the ALN was partially
successful in its efforts to minimize the effects of a ways
and means law that was supported by the "pacted" FSLN and PLC
caucuses (Reftel). She recounted how vigorous ALN lobbying
had led to the removal of some of the most egregious articles
of the "Organic Law" -- including articles 156-157, which
would have allowed the Human Rights Commission to grant
amnesty without requiring a majority vote in the Assembly for
a range of crimes -- a provision tailor-made to facilitate
amnesty for PLC caudillo/convicted money launderer Arnoldo
Aleman.

WHILE ALN RAISES THE BAR ON SOME OF THE PROCEDURAL CHANGES
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

3. (SBU) According to Sequeira, thanks to ALN efforts, the
vote thresholds were raised on a number of the procedural
changes:

-- Convocation of plenary sessions (Article 8): The
threshold to call for a special plenary session was raised
from the proposed 33 deputies to a simple majority of 47.

-- Nomination of Executive Board candidates (Article 34): The
provision stipulating that only the heads of caucuses may
propose members for the Executive Board (instead of allowing
any deputy to run) was removed.

--Removal of Executive Board members (Article 38): The
threshold required to remove a member of the Executive Board
was raised from 33 votes to a simple majority of 47.

BUT SOME DRACONIAN MEASURES REMAIN
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

4. (C) The ALN did not succeed in all of its efforts to
dampen the bill, however. Most disconcerting was the
Assembly's approval of a provision allowing the Executive
Board to conduct secret votes and Article 53, which grants
Assembly authority to issue legal summons to Nicaraguan or
foreign entities or individuals to appear under oath before
the Assembly. Failure to appear could lead to the Public
Ministry's conducting of legal proceedings against the person
or entity and possibly incarceration. Terming the Assembly's
new summons authority "a totalitarian inquisition," Sequeira
mentioned she had raised her concerns with the Spanish
Ambassador, who at first did not appear alarmed by the new
measure. He first commented to Sequeira that his embassy
officials enjoy immunity and many countries have similar
provisions on their books. However, after Sequeira reminded
him that Spanish investors and other Spaniards without
diplomatic immunity would be subject to the partisan whims of
the Assembly, he reportedly conceded that the Assembly could
abuse this new authority to coerce foreigners.

MIXED REVIEWS ON MODIFICATIONS OF ARTICLE 40
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

5. (SBU) Sequeira reported that the Assembly decided to
lower the threshold required for deputies to modify the daily
legislative agenda from 33 votes to only 20. While on the
one hand, the lower threshold would allow the ALN caucus to
propose changes to the agenda, Sequeira personally believes
changes from the floor should require the simple majority of
47 votes.

LAW REQUIRES PRESIDENTIAL SIGNATURE
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

6. (SBU) Regarding the debate over whether or not the new
law requires the Executive's signature, Sequeira clarified
that because it is a law, President Bolanos must sign it for
it to go into effect. She explained that the previous
Assembly regulations did not require the Executive's
signature because they were merely internal guidelines that
did not give the Assembly the powers the new law will accord
it.

DIRE NEED FOR LEGISLATIVE EXPERTISE
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

7. (C) Sequeira attributed some of the ALN's lobby success
to the expertise of constitutional lawyer Gabriel Alvarez,
noting that IRI had helped cover his honoraria. She said
that the ALN will require additional legislative expertise to
help it train new lawmakers and counter the machinations of
the FSLN and PLC in the Assembly. Polcouns urged Sequeira to
continue raising these valid concerns with the media and to
seek support from the OAS, Carter Center, EU, as well as
civil society.

COMMENT
- - - -

8. (C) Sequeira will provide us a copy of the law with its
revisions once she obtains it. On December 6, Carter Center
representative David Dye told poloff that the Carter Center
is disturbed by several elements of the new law, especially
the ability for the Assembly to conduct secret voting -- a
provision that will relieve lawmakers of any accountability
to their constituencies and which could shelter the "guilty
parties" in any amnesty vote for Aleman. We will continue to
raise our concerns with other embassies and domestic and
foreign civil society leaders.

BRENNAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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