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Cablegate: Andorra Elects Its Mayors

VZCZCXRO2319
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHLA #0102 3371640
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031640Z DEC 07
FM AMCONSUL BARCELONA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0919
INFO RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 0882
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA 1083

UNCLAS BARCELONA 000102

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/WE (E. SAMSON)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL SP AN
SUBJECT: ANDORRA ELECTS ITS MAYORS

1. (SBU) The ruling Liberal Party of Andorra (LP) continued its
winning ways December 2 handily winning weekend municipal
elections. The Social Democratic Party (PS), which had formed a
coalition with other like minded groups under the name
L'Alternativa, came in second. Two big surprises were the
victorious showings of two LP splinter parties, Union of the
People (Unio del Poble-UdP), and Municipal Action of Ordino
(Accio Comunal d'Ordino-ACO), which also drew support from the
nearly defunct Democratic Center Party (CDS). A coalition of
Greens, running for the first time, obtained a healthy ten
percent of the votes in several municipalities. Lower voter
turnout was a factor in these elections.
2. (SBU) Seventy-eight percent of the 19.300 eligible voters
(about 24 percent of the population) participated in electing
the 84 councilors of Andorra's seven municipalities (Andorra la
Vella, Canillo, Encamp, Escaldes-Engordany, La Massana, Ordino,
and Sant Julia de Loria). Voter turnout was lower, however, than
four years ago, when over 80 percent of the population took part
in the elections.
3. (SBU) Although the LP continued its hold on power,
abstentions and splintering ate away at its electoral
superiority. It LP lost control of two of the five
municipalities in which it held sway. The LP will govern in La
Massana, Sant Julia de Loria and Canillo. The PS-L'Alternativa
will control over Encamp and Andorra la Vella), while upstart
UdP will govern Escaldes-Engordany and ACO will control Ordino.
4. (SBU) The 19 parties or groups up for election campaigned
principally on issues of local concern: the environment,
development of public land, immigration and job quotas for
immigrants, housing (particularly for the aged), and public
transportation. These same issues are likely to be key in the
next general elections schedule for Spring 2009.
5. (SBU) COMMENT: President Pintat's Liberal Party continues to
be the most attractive to the majority of Andorrans, but that
attraction is fading. Falling voter turnout, internal party
discord, manifested by more splinter parties, and opposition
coalitions are eating away at the LP's strong position. The
PS-L'Alternativa coalition, for example, saw its position grow
stronger in these elections, and the Greens made a statement for
the first time in Andorran elections. All of this will bear
watching in the run up to the general elections in 2009. END
COMMENT.

ROBINSON

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