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Cablegate: Election Date Passes with Minor, Peaceful Protests

VZCZCXRO3891
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHAB #0722 3350920
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 010920Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5563
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0281

UNCLAS ABIDJAN 000722

SIPDIS

HQ USAFRICOM STUGGART GE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PGOV SOCI IV
SUBJECT: ELECTION DATE PASSES WITH MINOR, PEACEFUL PROTESTS

REF: A) ABIDJAN 675 B) ABIDJAN 720

1. (SBU) November 29, the date scheduled for presidential
elections in Cote d'Ivoire, came and went with little
fanfare. The GOCI made no official announcement on the
postponed elections, leaving the November 11 statement (ref
a) by Robert Mambe, the President of the Independent
Electoral Commission (CEI), as the only official
acknowledgment that the date had slipped. The opposition
PDCI held a demonstration November 29 encouraging Ivoirians
to protest any further postponement. Charles Ble Goude,
President Gbagbo's national youth campaign director, also
publicly expressed opposition to the delay, insisting that
the CEI set a date within the next three months.

NEW DATE NOT LIKELY TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON

2. (SBU) Ambassador Alcide Djedje, Cote d'Ivoire's Permanent
Representative to the United Nations and close presidential
advisor, told Ambassador November 30 that he doubted a new
date would be announced at the next meeting of the Permanent
Concertation Framework (CPC), which will take place in
Ouagadougou on December 3 (Gbagbo is departing Cote d'Ivoire
on December 1). Djedje said that the contestation period
needed to unfold further before a definitive date could be
determined. He did not appear to be overly concerned by the
prospect that the contestation period might go beyond the
30-day limit, however.

BUT SIGNS OF PROGRESS STILL VISIBLE

3. (SBU) In another sign that obstacles to elections are
being removed despite the fact that the election date was
pushed back, President Gbagbo signed seven decrees on
November 17, resolving most of the outstanding military
issues that stymied the formation of joint brigades to
provide security for the elections. Alain Lobognon, a close
advisor to Prime Minister Soro, told Ambassador that the
decrees (official texts of which are not yet available)
address the grades/ranks of the 400 former FDS soldiers who
joined the rebellion in 2002; spell out the criteria for the
5,000 FAFN who seek to join the new army; and clarify the
post-crisis status of the 4,000 FAFN elements who join their
FDS counterparts to form mixed brigades under the control of
the ICC.

4. (SBU) Comment: The lack of strong public reaction to the
failure to hold elections as scheduled is not surprising
given that progress towards that end is being made. As noted
in ref b, the posting of the electoral list has given
Ivoirians a sense of hope that the crisis really is nearing
an end. That, along with resolution of many of the key
military issues, suggests that while there may still be bumps
along the road, Cote d,Ivoire appears to be moving steadily
towards elections.
NESBITT

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