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Cablegate: Anbar Geo Update: Ongoing Election Preparations

VZCZCXRO1908
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3620/01 3201209
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 151209Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0396
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 003620

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: ANBAR GEO UPDATE: ONGOING ELECTION PREPARATIONS

1. (U) This is a PRT Anbar reporting cable.

SUMMARY
-------

2. (SBU) On November 2, PRT and MNF-West staff met with Anbar
Governorate Electoral Office Director (GEO), Khalid Rajab,
for a second time in Ramadi. The GEO noted that there are 52
registered entities for provincial elections in Anbar. He
intends to assign five schoolteachers for each polling
station. The GEO affirmed that he is receiving adequate
logistical support. The GEO's security manager, Omar
al-Faraji, attended the Independent High Electoral Commission
(IHEC)-sponsored security manager's course in Baghdad from
October 25-30. A recent survey of construction workers
conducted in Ramadi suggests 71 percent of those interviewed
intend to vote in the upcoming elections. END SUMMARY.

VOTER REGISTRATION CENTERS AND POLLING STATIONS
--------------------------------------------- --
3. (SBU) PRT and MNF-West met with Anbar Governorate
Electoral Office Director (GEO), Khalid Rajab, and his staff
on November 2 at his downtown Ramadi office to discuss
candidate nominations, voter education, and security
preparations for the provincial elections in Anbar. He made
the following points:

-- There are 52 registered entities; many are only
one-candidate. The GEO has submitted the candidates' names
to the De-Ba'athification Committee for review.

-- The GEO intends to assign five schoolteachers for each
ballot box and estimates employing 11,000 workers
province-wide for the elections. Each will receive a month's
salary for two weeks of work in connection with election
duties.

-- There will be 277 polling centers across Anbar for the
provincial elections. Each polling center will have several
ballot boxes to service the estimated 360,000 voters
expected to turnout on election day. The GEO is planning for
one ballot box per 400 voters.

--The GEO designated 28 voter registration centers to be used
for the Exhibition and Challenge period, when political
entities have the right to challenge the validity of voters
identified on the voter lists. The challenge period ended
November 12.

-- The GEO plans to assign one interpreter at each polling
center to assist international observers.

-- The GEO affirmed that he is receiving adequate logistical
support. He received two new generators, extra Thuraya
batteries, a metal detector, and additional equipment through
a Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) contract last week.
This equipment is part of an IHEC initiative to ensure that
GEOs countrywide have electrical power, communications, and
security equipment.

SECURITY
--------

4. (SBU) The GEO's security manager, Omar al-Faraji, attended
an IHEC-sponsored security manager's course in Baghdad from
October 25-30. As a result, Omar says he is better prepared
to ensure physical security of the ballots, their movement,
and physical security of the polling centers.

RAMADI ELECTION SURVEY DATA
---------------------------

5. (SBU) The GEO's preparations come against the backdrop of
heightened voter anticipation for the forthcoming election.
A recent survey of construction workers in Ramadi indicated
that 71 percent of those interviewed intend to vote in the
upcoming provincial elections, stating the need to make the
provincial council more responsive to the populace. However,
their desire to vote does not appear to be linked to
political awareness--few who expressed an intention to vote
could identify current Provincial Council members. Others
said that their vote would not make a difference and that all
political leaders are corrupt.

COMMENT
-------

6. (SBU) Some 360,000 Anbaris verified their registration
data during the period ending August 28. This number
represents nearly 100 times the size of the voter turnout in
2005. This heightened sense of political mobilization
reflects Anbaris' dissatisfaction with the current provincial

BAGHDAD 00003620 002 OF 002


government and a desire not to repeat the mistakes of the
past by boycotting this election (NOTE: Sunnis throughout
Iraq largely boycotted the 2005 elections. END NOTE).
Election turnout is expected to be relatively high--between
60-70 percent of the 730,000 eligible voters in Anbar. The
PRT believes that election preparations in Anbar are going
smoothly. END COMMENT.
CROCKER

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