Search

 

Cablegate: Egypt Elections Working Group, Step One Reaching

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #1858 2701447
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 271447Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3714
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 001858

SIPDIS

FOR NEA/ELA AND DRL/NESCA
NSC FOR KUMAR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/17/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM EG
SUBJECT: EGYPT ELECTIONS WORKING GROUP, STEP ONE REACHING
OUT TO US NGOS

Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Key Issues: -- Egypt's 2010 parliamentary and 2011 presidential elections come at a time of increased scrutiny following other high-profile and flawed elections in the region. -- In order to ensure comprehensive engagement on upcoming elections in Egypt, Embassy Cairo has initiated an Elections Working Group (EWG). -- Embassy outreach to key players has already begun. On September 15, the Ambassador sat down with U.S. NGOs working on elections and democracy promotion in Egypt to review 2009/2010 programming priorities.

2. (C) Egypt faces three elections over the next 24 months. Recent events in Iran and Afghanistan have added to the scrutiny these elections will face both internationally and domestically. Egypt has only just begin preparing, formally and informally, for these elections. Embassy Cairo has begun to look systematically at our assistance and advocacy efforts in anticipation of these events.

3. (C) Embassy Cairo held its first Elections Working Group (EWG) on September 15. This group draws from key members of the Country Team and is part of Embassy Cairo's efforts to monitor election-related efforts in Egypt. Next steps include the preparation of a timeline of election related events, baseline reporting on the election environment with a focus on process (specifically how changes to the electoral process following the 2005 elections will affect the conduct of the upcoming elections), an analysis of the current media climate and limits placed on freedom of expression, and, an analysis of key political parties, their election plans and their leaders. The Embassy is also developing a media and outreach strategy in order to identify and explain U.S. policy priorities in Egypt in the areas of democracy promotion, freedom of expression, good governance and rule of law. In late September, the EWG will also initiate the first in a series of election-related DVC's with Washington interlocutors.

4. (SBU) The Embassy has already begun to reach out to key partners. In a September 15 discussion hosted by the Ambassador, the country directors from the three principle (and unregistered) U.S. NGOs operating in field of democracy promotion in Egypt, the International Federation for Electoral Systems (IFES), National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI), reviewed current programming and plans for 2010. Ambassador and USAID Mission Director outlined the Embassy's ongoing efforts to press the GoE for progress on the formal registration of these and other U.S. NGOs operating in Egypt. While expressing concern about their pending registration status, all reported they have been able to continue their work.

5. (SBU) In a discussion about programming priorities in the lead-up to the 2010 parliamentary elections, NDI country director Lila Jafaar reviewed NDI efforts to train political party leaders, support domestic monitoring efforts, and promote voter education. Jafaar noted the importance of empowered and formally accredited local monitors, but added that the presence of international monitors would provide the extra "moral support" needed to ensure the most egregious forms of election tampering and obstruction would not occur. Recently arrived IRI country director Carlos Espinosa said IRI would focus on party development, not on electoral process. Espinoza specifically noted the tendency by opposition parties to focus on personalities and not institutional development. IFES country director Jeffrey Carlson noted the lack of a clearly defined elections infrastructure. He pointed out that while elections are coordinated by the constitutionally mandated Higher Electoral Commission (HEC), the HEC has limited staffing and operates without clearly defined authorities when deploying the thousands of staff (from other GoE entities) needed to conduct the elections. Carlson said he is currently focused on building a relationship with the new HEC Chairman (appointed in June) and preparation of an election workbook and a polling station manual (the latter in coordination with the MOI), and implementing voter education programs. Scobey

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


Binoy Kampmark: Europe Dries Up
Scenes and pictures have been circulating of broken earth, lacking moisture, cracked and yearning. But these are not from traditional drought-stricken parts of the planet, where the animal carcass assumes near totemic power... More>>



UN: Bachelet Alarmed By Number Of Palestinian Children Killed In Latest Escalation

UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet today expressed alarm at the high number of Palestinians, including children, killed and injured in the occupied Palestinian territory this year, including in intense hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza last weekend... More>>

Save The Children: One Year Under Taliban Rule, Girls Are More Isolated, Hungry, Sad: New Report
One year since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, an economic crisis, crippling drought and new restrictions have shattered girls’ lives, excluding them from society and leaving them hungry...
More>>

Somalia: ‘We Cannot Wait For Famine To Be Declared; We Must Act Now’
Rising acute food insecurity in Somalia has caused more than 900,000 people to flee their homes in search of humanitarian assistance since January last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned... More>>

UN: American West Faces Water And Power Shortages Due To Climate Crisis
Two of the largest reservoirs in the United States are at dangerously low levels due to the climate crisis and overconsumption of water, which could affect water and electricity supply for millions in six western states and Mexico, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned on Tuesday... More>>



Singapore: UN Experts Call For Immediate Moratorium On Executions For Drug Offences

UN experts* today condemned the execution of Nazeri Bin Lajim, a 64-year-old Malay Singaporean national convicted of drug offenses and urged the Government of Singapore to halt plans to execute individuals on death row for drug related charges... More>>