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Cablegate: Elections Officially Postponed, No New Date Set

VZCZCXRO8057
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHAB #0675/01 3171347
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131347Z NOV 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5523
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0276

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABIDJAN 000675

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM SOCI IV
SUBJECT: ELECTIONS OFFICIALLY POSTPONED, NO NEW DATE SET

REF: A. ABIDJAN 666
B. ABIDJAN 664

1. (U) SUMMARY: On November 11, the Independent Electoral
Commission (CEI) announced that presidential elections will
not take place on November 29. The provisional voters' list
has been printed, however, and the United Nations Operation
in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) has begun distributing it.
According to the Prime Minister's office, the provisional
lists could be posted in all of the 11,000 polling stations
by Monday, November 16. END SUMMARY


ELECTIONS POSTPONED
-------------------
2. (U) At a press conference on November 11, CEI President
Robert Mambe announced that presidential elections set for
November 29 will be postponed. Respecting the November 29
date "would be ideal," he stated, "but.. if we want to do our
work well, so that all Ivoirians obtain their documents, we
are required to postpone the November 29 date." Mambe did
not offer a new date for elections.


THE PROVISIONAL ELECTORAL LIST IS READY!
----------------------------------------
3. (SBU) SAGEM completed printing of the provisional voters'
list on November 10, and the following day, UNOCI began
distributing the list to the 415 local CEI commissions around
the country. The provisional list that will be posted at
each commission is composed of three separate lists:

- The first list includes approximately 5.3 million
petitioners who were found on the 2000 electoral list and
through additional database searches. There are no further
nationality questions for these petitioners: they are
considered Ivoirian and will be eligible to vote.

- The second list, which will be posted separately from the
first, includes approximately 1,033,000 people who were not
found in any of the historical databases. The people on this
list must come to their local CEI commission with all of the
documents initially required to register. If the local
commission determines that they are Ivoirian, their names
will be added to the first list.

- The third list, also posted separately, contains the names
of approximately 43,000 people who participated in the
identification and enrollment process, but who were
determined to be of non-Ivoirian origin and therefore
rejected. (Note: CNSI Commissioner Cisse Malick told Poloff
that the majority of these people are in possession of a
foreign resident card, which is why they have been excluded
from the list.) This list will also note the reason for
disqualification in case petitioners would like to contest
their non-eligibility.

4. (SBU) UN vehicles transporting lists departed for regions
near Abidjan on November 11; early the following morning,
lists were loaded onto UN flights bound for several cities
across the country. Once the lists arrive at the 415 local
commissions, however, it is the responsibility of local CEI
commissioners to make sure the list is posted in all of the
polling stations in their districts. To facilitate this, the
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) disbursed 582
million CFA (approx $1.3 million) to the CEI on November 11
to cover all costs involved with transporting and posting the
lists in the 11,000 polling stations.

5. (U) The CEI announced that the provisional list will also
be publicly available on its website on November 12.
According to Koffi Koffi Paul from the Prime Minister's
office, the paper lists are expected to be physically posted
by Monday, November 16.


NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET
------------------------
6. (SBU) COMMENT: If the CEI commissioners succeed in
posting the provisional electoral list, it will be a major
step forward in resolving the country's seven year political
crisis. Significant hurdles remain, however. The 30 day
dispute period, where anyone can challenge names on the
provisional list, will begin the day the lists are posted.
Political parties have been preparing for months to challenge
the lists, and it is unclear how many of the 1,033,000 cases
will need to be examined by judges. If there are a
significant number of challenges, this could slow down the
process even further. However, CEI Commissioner Yacouba
Bamba told Poloff that he believes the process will run much
more smoothly than the ID/voter registration process. Because

ABIDJAN 00000675 002 OF 002


the CEI no longer needs the consensus of the technical
operators to carry out this phase of the process, Bamba said
the CEI can proceed much more quickly than it has in the
past. The lack of ONI, INS, and SAGEM agents involved in
this phase also significantly cuts down the possibility of
agent strikes further delaying the election process.

7. (SBU) Although elections have been postponed yet again,
significant progress has been made - not only on the lists,
but on election security issues as well. It appears that
funds have finally been allocated to refurbish the cantonment
sites for the Forces Nouvelles (FN), which should allow the
disarmament process to move forward. This week, 900 FN
soldiers were cantoned in Bouake. END COMMENT
NESBITT

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