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Cablegate: Embassy Congratulates Angola On Peaceful, Albeit Flawed,

VZCZCXRO0038
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHLU #0715 2541906
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 101906Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY LUANDA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5022
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS LUANDA 000715

SIPDIS

E. O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM PHUM AO
SUBJECT: EMBASSY CONGRATULATES ANGOLA ON PEACEFUL, ALBEIT FLAWED,
ELECTIONS

1. (U) The Ambassador on September 9 released a statement on the
September 5-6 legislative elections, as observed by the U.S. Embassy
Election Observation Team. The statement congratulated the Angolan
people for their peaceful participation in the election, pointed out
the ruling party's advantage during the campaign, noted that the
elections were peaceful and without observed intimidation, detailed
the logistical and other problems that impeded voting, namely in
Luanda, and expressed hope that the lessons learned from these
elections would be applied to next year's presidential race. The
statement received prominent coverage in state and private media.

2. (U) The Embassy's statement follows:

DECLARATION BY THE UNITED STATES EMBASSY ELECTORAL OBSERVATION TEAM
September 9, 2008

The United States Embassy in Luanda wishes to thank the National
Election Commission for the invitation to observe Angola's 2008
legislative elections. Resident in Angola, members of the U.S.
Embassy observed the electoral campaign in Luanda and in many of the
nation's provinces. On Election Day, the U.S. Embassy fielded 37
observers in Benguela, Bie, Huambo, Luanda and Uige Provinces.

The United States Embassy congratulates the people of Angola, who
took seriously their role in the democratic process of choosing
their representatives to the National Assembly. Overcoming fears
and uncertainties engendered by Angola's last elections 16 years
ago, millions of Angolans turned out to vote, many for the first
time. The Embassy Observation Team recognizes the enormity of
organizing over 12,000 polling stations in a country still
recovering from a long period of civil conflict. Over a half million
Angolans participated directly in the Election Day process as
polling station workers, political party poll-watchers, and domestic
observers.

The electoral campaign period was generally peaceful throughout the
country. The advantages of incumbency provided the ruling party
preferential access to resources. Although each party was daily
allotted 15 minutes of dedicated nationwide television and radio
time, state control of major media gave the ruling party an
advantage in campaign media coverage.

On Election Day, the country was peaceful. The Embassy Observation
Team observed no acts of voter intimidation.

According to reports of the Embassy Observation Team, the voting
process outside Luanda proceeded in a generally timely and efficient
manner. At many polling stations in Luanda, however, voting
supplies were delivered late or not at all, resulting in long delays
in opening these stations, if, indeed, they opened. Embassy
Observers witnessed many citizens casting ballots without reference
to voter registration rolls, either print or electronic. This
situation was compounded by conflicting interpretations of how to
utilize tendered ballots. Inking of a finger was the only control
against multiple voting.

The U.S. Embassy believes the logistical and other problems of these
elections offer valuable lessons for Angola's future elections,
beginning with next year's presidential elections.

Again, we congratulate the people of Angola on their participation
in this important step in strengthening their democracy.

End Embassy Statement.

MOZENA

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