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Cablegate: Carter Center Observations On Challenges to the Provisional

VZCZCXRO5419
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHAB #0031 0221557
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 221557Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0045
INFO ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0009

UNCLAS ABIDJAN 000031

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM IV
SUBJECT: CARTER CENTER OBSERVATIONS ON CHALLENGES TO THE PROVISIONAL
ELECTORAL LIST

1. (U) SUMMARY: Observers from the Atlanta-based Carter
Center who monitored the process of filing challenges to the
provisional electoral list told the donor community that the
nationwide distribution and posting of lists by the local
independent electoral commissioners was very successful. However,
a lack of clear instructions from the central Independent Electoral
Commission (CEI) led to uneven treatment of cases in some centers.
Due to the ongoing nature of the dispute process, the Carter Center
does not intend to make its findings public and will instead engage
directly with key players to recommend improvements to the
electoral process. END SUMMARY

2. (U) Six observers from the Carter Center and four
representatives of the Electoral Institute of South Africa (EISA)
worked together from November 27 to December 20 to observe the
process of filing challenges to the provisional electoral list.
The ten observers visited approximately 20% of all 415 local CEI
coordination centers and covered 14 of Cote d'Ivoire's 19 regions.

3. (U) Carter Center observers noted that, although there
were minor delays in distributing and posting the provisional
electoral list around the country, in general, the distribution
calendar was respected, and the operation was highly successful.
They attributed this success to the empowerment of local CEI
commissioners, who were given the financial and material resources
necessary to do their job. For example, UNDP provided hammers,
plywood sheets, and cash directly to local CEIs rather than relying
on the central CEI in Abidjan for distribution. Carter Center
Electoral Expert Michel Paternotre said that the success of this
operation bodes well for election day, which will also entail
significant logistical efforts to distribute ballots, ballot boxes,
ink, and other electoral material.

4. (U) Observers were concerned, however, with "significant
variations" in how individual centers processed challenges to the
lists. To cite one example, some centers accepted yellow national
identity cards as proof of identity, while others did not, since
there were no clear instructions from the central CEI. [Note:
there have been several different forms (and colors) of national
identity cards, each corresponding to a different government
attempt to resolve the ID issue.] Observers noted, however, that
nearly all variations in treatment of cases were a result of
different interpretations of vague instructions. Due to these
variations, the Carter Center cited wide disparities in official
CEI statistics on the number of processed, approved, and/or
rejected cases. Observers did not believe that any of the CEI
decisions were discriminatory in nature or intended to favor one
ethnic or political group over another.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: Although the Carter Center briefed the
international donor community in Abidjan, it does not intend to
release a public report. Carter Center Representative Sabina
Vigani explained that, because judges are still reviewing dispute
cases, the Center was concerned that its report might be used as a
political tool - particularly if it was released before the dispute
process concluded. [Note: UNOCI reported on January 22 that the CEI
has agreed to extend the electoral list dispute period until
February 4.] The Carter Center will instead reach out to key
players directly to share observers' recommendations in private
discussions.
NESBITT

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