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Cablegate: No Final Voter Registration Plan or Budget, No Special

VZCZCXRO4797
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1048/01 2570943
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 140943Z SEP 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4410
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001048

NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM SOCI SU
SUBJECT: NO FINAL VOTER REGISTRATION PLAN OR BUDGET, NO SPECIAL
PROVISIONS FOR IDP VOTERS

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On September 6, U.S. Agency for International
Development Director and Pol Chief attended a National Elections
Commission (NEC) Policy Committee meeting. NEC officials were
unable to provide a budget covering activities through the post
election period, operational plan or voter registration plan.
Election advisors are concerned about provision of voter
registration materials in time to begin registration on November 1
as specified in the national election timeline. The NEC remains
unwilling to develop special provisions for Internally Displaced
Persons (IDP) voters. END SUMMARY

--------------------------------------
Voter Registration Preparation Lacking
--------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Voter registration is scheduled to begin on November 1 as
specified in the national election timeline. According to the NEC,
it discarded the registration plan developed by international
election advisors and NEC experts and developed a new plan.
According to election advisors, it will not be possible to complete
registration on time under the new plan due to insufficient human
and logistical resources. Election advisors said that they recently
worked with the NEC to make the plan more feasible. NEC and election
advisors agreed for budget and planning purposes to set a
registration target of 16.5 million or 80 percent of eligible voters
according to the census. NEC officials acknowledged that an
officially endorsed final voter registration plan is not yet
available.

---------------------------
NEC Budget Raises Questions
---------------------------

3. (SBU) The current draft NEC budget provided at the meeting totals
approximately $200,000,000, but has not been officially endorsed or
approved by the NEC. NEC officials announced that the Government of
National Unity (GNU) has committed funding through June 2010, though
it did not specify the amount committed. In addition, the NEC
announced that GNU contributions to the budget are set at 42 percent
and donor contributions at 58 percent. Election advisors said after
the meeting that this breakdown does not match the most recent
budget developed by the advisors and NEC experts. That budget evenly
divides costs between the GNU and donors according to election
advisors.

----------------------------------------
IDPs Need Voter Education To Participate
----------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Donors raised concerns about the ability of internally
displaced persons (IDPs) to register and to vote. The 2008 National
Election Act does not lay out specific registration and polling
procedures for IDPs; the same eligibility criteria apply to all
Sudanese, including IDPs, according to the NEC. NEC officials and
donor country representatives agreed that targeted and focused voter
education in IDP camps is critical to ensure that IDPs know the
procedures and are encouraged to participate in the process. Great
Britain's e Department for International Development (DfID) Country
Director Sandra Pepera emphasized the need for flexibility to allow
extra time for IDP registration in the event that large numbers of
IDPs are able to return to their homes after registration but prior
to the national elections.

---------------------------------------
NEC Queried on Executive-Only Elections
---------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Embassy of the Netherlands Ambassador Norbert Braakhuis
asked about speculations concerning executive-only elections.
According to Ambassador Braakhuis, both the SPLM and the NCP have
raised the idea of executive-only elections in discussions with the
UK. Neither NEC nor GNU representatives commented.

6. (SBU) COMMENT: With voter registration scheduled to begin in less
than two months, the NEC has yet to finalize its registration plan,
and has not begun training registration staff or conducting voter
education concerning registration. IDP voter registration and
polling will pose challenges for the millions of Sudanese who do not
live close to their home areas. The ongoing delay in finalization of
the operational plan and budget, combined with an ad hoc approach to
electoral planning by the NEC, increases the likelihood that there
will not be sufficient time to procure materials and prepare for
voter registration, voter education, and polling. END COMMENT

KHARTOUM 00001048 002 OF 002


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