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Cablegate: Chad Election Process Gaining Momentum: Complete

VZCZCXRO4595
OO RUEHBC RUEHBZ RUEHDH RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHKUK RUEHMA RUEHMR
RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNJ #0016/01 0111004
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 111004Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7569
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NDJAMENA 000016

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/C
STATE FOR S/USSES
OSD FOR DASD HUDDLESTON
NSC FOR GAVIN
LONDON FOR POL - LORD
PARIS FOR POL - BAIN AND KANEDA
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR AU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL PREF SU CD
SUBJECT: CHAD ELECTION PROCESS GAINING MOMENTUM: COMPLETE
2010-11 ELECTION TIMETABLE ADOPTED JANUARY 6

REF: A. NDJAMENA 004
B. 09 NDJAMENA 586

-----------
SUMMARY
AND COMMENT
-----------

1. (SBU) Chad's national election process has gained
significant momentum since President Deby's December 5
convocation of political party leaders to unite them around
the common goal of credible legislative and municipal
elections in 2010. Chad's international partners including
the U.S. have formed a working group to coordinate assistance
to the electoral process, advising UNDP experts on a draft
electoral timetable for polling as called for in the August
13, 2007 Accord. On December 28, Deby met with key
institutional actors -- the Independent National Electoral
Commission (CENI), the Steering Committee for achievement of
August 13 Accords (Comite de suivi), and international
democratic partners to prevail on them to work toward the
common goal of elections this year and next. Chad's
electoral calendar, adopted January 6 by the CENI, sets
November 28, 2010 as the date for legislative elections;
December 12, 2010 as the date for Chad's first-ever municipal
elections; and April 23, 2011 as the date for presidential
elections. The next two essential steps -- setting up a
Permanent Electoral Board and carrying out an electoral
census to establish voter rolls -- will take place in January
2010, and March to May, 2010, respectively.

2. (SBU) Although this ambitious electoral process could
eventually fall behind schedule, it provides a template for
potential success, and will give the international working
group the ability to foresee poential problems in advance and
to deploy its advice, encouragement and assistance
appropriately and effectively, especially at predictable
sticking points. President Deby's two interventions and the
coordinated, targeted support of the international community
have been key to momentum in a process that had been lagging
following the establishment of the CENI in July. END SUMMARY
AND COMMENT.

--------------------------
INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE KEY
--------------------------

3. (SBU) International advice and involvement have been key
to resolving some long-standing debates within the Chadian
body politic that had earlier blocked agreement on whether to
hold elections, and later to set a date for them. An ad hoc
ambassadorial-level working group of democratic nations and
entities -- comprised of representatives from UNDP, EU, AU,
OIF, France, Germany, and Switzerland, as well as the U.S. --
has been meeting bi-weekly since November to ensure good
international cooperation and cohesion with respect to Chad's
electoral preparations. The group met December 24 with
visiting UNDP experts to work out a detailed timeline for
upcoming votes. In addition to laying out notional dates for
legislative, municipal and presidential contests, the group
specified a timeframe for announcement and certification of
electoral results and outlined changes that would likely be
necessary to Chadian law in order for elections to take place
on schedule. The group recommended that the number of
polling stations currently called for -- some 17,000 -- be
reduced, and that an upper limit on the number of National
Assembly deputies be set at 180.

4. (SBU) The ad hoc working group also agreed
provisionally, pending final approval in New York and
Brussels, that UNDP would serve as overall coordinator of
international assistance to the Chadian electoral process,
with UNDP experts taking the lead on help with the electoral
census, and that the EU would be deputy international
coordinator, taking the lead on advice-giving to the CENI.
Other members of the ad hoc working group have agreed to
coordinate their support to the electoral process, both

NDJAMENA 00000016 002 OF 002


advice-giving and financial.

-----------------
MOMENTUM BUILDING
-----------------

5. (SBU) UNDP presented the international community's
timeline, proposals and recommendations to President Deby on
December 28, in the company of reps of the CENI and Comite se
suivi. Deby stressed his commitment to elections in 2010 and
2011. He said that Chad was capable of staging democratic
processes and that it wanted international electoral
assistance. He specified that per the August 2007 Accord on
rapprochement between governing and opposition parties, the
Comite de suivi (on which the international community has
observer seats) should assist the CENI in electoral
preparations. (In November, Deby revitalized the Electoral
Reform Committee by naming the dynamic new Chairman of his
Popular Movement for Solidarity party, former Prime Minister
Nagoum Yamassoum, as head of the MPS delegation on the body.)


6. (SBU) UNDP's timeline was given to the CENI on January
5, and that body adopted it unanimously one day later. In a
press conference on January 6, CENI head Ngarmadjal Gami laid
out the dates for 2010 and 2011 elections and dates during
which the electoral census would be conducted. He conceded
that the CENI had made a slow start in the months following
its establishment in July 2009, but he promised a
considerably accelerated pace with respect to legislative
reforms necessary to keep the electoral timetable on track,
and also with respect to technical preparations such as
districting. Gami noted that the CENI would work closely
with the Chadian media to see that information on electoral
processes and voter entitlements was disseminated widely in
advance of the various contests.

-----------------
USG ASSISTANCE
TO CHAD ELECTIONS
-----------------

7. (SBU) A USAID team of democracy and conflict experts
visited Chad December 5-18, consulted extensively in
N'Djamena and elsewhere, and arrived at a plan to spend USD
five million for elections and election-related conflict
mitigation activities. This plan reflected Post's priorities
and was welcomed by the GOC and by international partners to
whom it was briefed, including our colleagues on the
international working group, MINURCAT, etc. (NOTE: In 2009,
USG contributed 1.3 million USD to a national demographic
census, a prerequisite for the subsequent election process.)

-------
COMMENT
-------

8. (SBU) Although this ambitious electoral process could
eventually fall behind schedule, it provides a template for
success, and will give the international working group the
ability to foresee poential problems in advance and to deploy
its advice, encouragement and assistance appropriately and
effectively, especially at predictable sticking points.
President Deby's two interventions and the coordinated,
targeted support of the international community have been key
to momentum in a process that had been lagging following the
establishment of the CENI in July.

9. (U) Minimize considered.
NIGRO

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