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Cablegate: Election Fraud Continues As Authorities Release

VZCZCXRO6119
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHMU #1411/01 3252229
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 202229Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3419
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANAGUA 001411

STATE FOR WHA/CEN AND DRL
STATE PASS USAID FOR LAC-CARDENAS
NSC FOR FISK/GARCIA
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/19/2018
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM NU
SUBJECT: ELECTION FRAUD CONTINUES AS AUTHORITIES RELEASE
PROVISIONAL RESULTS

Classified By: Ambassador Robert J. Callahan, reasons 1.4 (b, d)

1. (SBU) Summary: On November 14, 15, and 18, the Supreme
Electoral Council (CSE) published the provisional results of
the November 9 municipal elections. These results show the
Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) winning 106 of
the 146 municipalities, the Vamos con Eduardo-Constitutional
Liberal Party electoral alliance (VcE-PLC) winning 36, and
the Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN) winning four. These
provisional results increased from 91 to 106 the
municipalities won by the FSLN, and include some "wins" that
demonstrate the CSE's continued fraud of the elections.
Under the CSE's electoral calendar, the political parties now
enter a three-week appeal process, which the CSE would need
to resolve before announcing final, official results on
December 5. End Summary.

---------------------------------
CSE Publishes Provisional Results
---------------------------------

2. (U) On November 9 and 10 the CSE released preliminary
results of the elections which showed the FSLN won 91
municipalities, the VcE-PLC alliance won 50 municipalities,
and the ALN won three municipalities. (Note: The CSE had not
released preliminary results for all municipalities.) The
council stated these preliminary results were based on
partial returns from the various municipalities. On November
14, 15, and 18, the CSE then published the provisional
results based on complete returns from the municipalities.
Of the 146 municipalities that were contested on November 9,
the CSE's provisional results showed the FSLN won 106
municipalities, the VCE-PLC won 36 municipalities, and the
ALN won four municipalities. Among the 146 races were
contests for 16 departmental capitals. According to the
CSE's results, the FSLN won 13 capitals and the VCE-PLC
alliance won three capitals. Following is a break-down by
department/region:

Department
(No. of municipalities) FSLN VCE-PLC ALN

Boaco (6) 2 4
Carazo (8) 8 0
Chinandega (13) 13 0
Chontales (11) 3 5 3
Esteli (6) 4 2
Granada (4) 3 1
Jinotega (8) 3 5
Leon (10) 10 0
Madriz (9) 9 0
Managua (9) 9 0
Masaya (9) 9 0
Matagalpa (14) 9 5
Nueva Segovia (12) 7 5
Rio San Juan (6) 4 2
Rivas (10) 9 1
South Autonomous
Atlantic Region (RAAS) (11) 4 6 1

Total (146) 106 36 4

3. (U) According to the CSE's electoral calendar, the
political parties now enter a three-week appeal process where
they can challenge the provisional results. The CSE must
resolve these appeals by December 4, and the Council will
announce the official, final results on December 5.

------------------------
Election Fraud Continues
------------------------

4. (SBU) The CSE's November 14, 15, and 18 provisional
results showing the FSLN winning 106 municipalities was
surprising, especially in municipalities where the CSE had
previously said the VcE-PLC had won. This was particularly
true in Juigalpa and Santo Tomas in the department of
Chontales, and Corinto in the department of Chinandega. The
CSE's preliminary reports for these three municipalities on
November 12 was based on 100% of the returns from the voting
stations and showed the VcE-PLC alliance wining all three
mayorships. However, after the CSE published its provisional
results these three municipal races were reported as FSLN

MANAGUA 00001411 002 OF 002


victories.

5. (C) It is of note that the "winning" party in each of
these three municipal races switched once the election
results left the municipal electoral authorities, and moved
to the control of the departmental or national electoral
council. According to a VcE-PLC party poll watcher in
Juigalpa, the departmental electoral council annulled 4,000
ballots, which was 25% of the total ballots counted.
(Historical national norms are between 1%-2%.) In Santo
Tomas, Rodolfo Silva Chamorro of the Conservative Party told
us that preliminary results showed the VcE-PLC winning 70% to
the FSLN's 30%. However, the CSE's provisional results
showed the FSLN winning Santo Tomas by 399 votes and it is
unclear what happened from the time the results were
transmitted from the municipal level to the CSE. Finally,
the CSE awarded Corinto to the FSLN by 110 votes, where
previous "final" tallies showed the VcE-PLC winning by 365
votes. According to Luis Herrera, a local representative of
the domestic observer group the Institute for Development and
Democracy, the departmental electoral council simply annulled
the results of seven of 51 voting stations (13.7% of the
voting stations).

-------
Comment
-------

6. (C) The government's fraud of the elections continues
even a week after election day. The CSE's announcement of
winners on one day was easily overturned the next day without
any justification or explanation. At a minimum this erratic
behavior leaves little confidence in Nicaragua's election
results, the CSE, or the government in general. According to
the CSE's electoral calendar, the final, official results are
scheduled to be announced December 5 after a three-week
appeal process. However, CSE contacts tell us this date
might be advanced and these "provisional" results might be
ratified as early as November 21, further questioning the
credibility of Nicaragua's municipal elections.
CALLAHAN

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