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Cablegate: Chad Election Process Pushes On: Operating Budget

VZCZCXRO2286
OO RUEHBC RUEHBZ RUEHDH RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHKUK RUEHMA RUEHMR
RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNJ #0065/01 0301612
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 301612Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7649
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 03 NDJAMENA 000065

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: PREL PGOV PHUM PREF SU LY UN EU CD
SUBJECT: CHAD ELECTION PROCESS PUSHES ON: OPERATING BUDGET
AND PERMANENT BOARD OF ELECTIONS SET

REF: NDJAMENA 16

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

1. (SBU) The Chadian electoral process, aimed at national
legislative and municipal elections in Nov-Dec 2010,
continues to roll forward, with the key steps of establishing
a Permanent Board of Elections (BPE) and an electoral budget
of USD 49 million taken by the government on Jan 27. Most of
Chad's 120-some political parties have now aligned themselves
with either the ruling Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) or
the opposition Coalition for the Defense of the Constitution
(CPDC). The informal International Working Group (IWC) of
democratic donors continues to engage with the Independent
Electoral Commission (CENI), the August 13 Accord Comite de
Suivi (CS), and the new PBE to help these structures overcome
obstacles on the road to credible elections later this year.
Bipartisan commissions composed of political party reps to
manage elections at the regional and departmental levels are
80 per cent complete, and are due to be finalized February 8.
One important next step is passage of a package of
legislative measures necessary to the elections. Another is
the completion of the electoral census, which will
established voter rolls, envisioned for March-May.

2. (SBU) This is still an ambitious enterprise, but the
steady progress of Chad's fledgling "electoral machinery"
continues, with considerable help from friends in the
democratic donor community, in the knowledge that President
Deby expects results along the lines he outlined last
December. China is a recent addition to those offering to
help Chad with its electoral process. END SUMMARY AND
COMMENT.

---------------
BPE ESTABLISHED
---------------

3. (SBU) The IWG had an opportunity January 28 to interact
briefly with the just-named Director General and Deputy
Director General of Chad's first Permanent Board of
Elections. The Director, Ahmet al-Hisene, a northern Muslim
with a public health background, appeared modest and
professional if overwhelmed at the prospect of having to play
a neutral role in Chad's highly-charged environment.
Al-Hisene acknowledged his lack of experience and said he
would rely on his Deputy, Oudjan, a Christian southerner and
demographer with Chad's Census Bureau, who has been a
respected partner of the U.S. in the 2009 demographic census.
Al-Hisene and Oudjan said that they had met with President
Deby January 17, and that he had urged them to play
nonpartisan roles in keeping with their positions. Both
stressed that their first task would be recruiting personnel.

-------------------------
ELECTORAL BUDGET DRAWN UP
-------------------------

4. (SBU) A national budget for elections has been prepared,
based on the following broad outlines:

Electoral census within Chad--------USD 16,570,300.
Electoral census of diaspora--------USD 1,260,233.
Legislative electoral budget--------USD 21,041,683.
Local electoral budget--------------USD 2,447,433.
CENI operating budget---------------USD 7,097,277.
Start-up of BPE---------------------USD 487,783.

TOTAL: USD 48,904,710.

5. (SBU) Embassies have been presented with far more
detailed break-outs of each category, down to photocopying
costs. When offering the budget to IWG Ambassadors, CENI
Chairman Gami specified that the high cost for legislative

NDJAMENA 00000065 002 OF 003


elections as compared with local ones was explained by the
fact that local elections will only take place for those
local officials with departmental or regional
responsibilities. The technicalities of staging Chad's
first-ever local elections absent all infrastructure to
convert from an appointed to an elected system of
administration has proven so daunting that the local process
is now scheduled to take place in stages. Some local
elections will accompany the presidential contest in 2011 and
others may take place later (NFI). The CENI operating budget
is large because it contains funding for all of the regional
and departmental CENIs that are currently being stood up by
the process of "demembrements." The budget for counting
Chad's diaspora population will allow this group to vote in
presidential elections but not legislative ones.

6. (SBU) In preparation for an eventual pledging session
with the GoC, the IWG has spoken internally about possible
electoral assistance funds. Thus far, France is still in the
midst of deliberations on the size of its contribution. The
EU has E1.5 million at work in various projects, and another
E3 million on the way later this spring. UNDP currently has
USD 1 million in its Trust Fund. Germany and Switzerland
have promised E300,000 and E400,000 each. The OIF will not
contribute financially, but plans to provide technical
assistance in a variety of areas including encouraging
women's suffrage; providing electoral observers; helping with
resolution of electoral disputes; and helping with training
of election workers. Little of the financial contributions
of our partners, and none of our own likely grant of around
USD 5 million, will go directly to the Chadian government to
offset costs projected for the electoral process listed in
para 4 above.

7. (SBU) China has publicly announced that it has a sum of
USD 250,000 available to assist the CENI. Chinese diplomats
have told us that their nation is an enthusiastic proponent
of better governance in Chad, that Beijing doubts the
efficacy of democracy here, that therefore it is not
persuaded that elections will necessarily lead to better
governance, but that orderly elections are clearly consistent
with stability -- wherefore the Chinese desire to help the
CENI.

--------
SPARRING
--------

8. (SBU) Several IWG meetings with Chadian interlocutors on
electoral themes this month focused on a manifesto issued
January 26 by some members of the CPDC, who castigated the
national CENI for its supposed pro-MPS bias in assigning
political party reps to seats on regional and departmental
electoral commissions (seven persons are to serve on regional
CENIs, and six on departmental CENIs, vice 31 on the national
CENI). The manifesto is currently preventing decisions on
membership for N'Djamena's municipal CENI, but 80 per cent of
regional and departmental CENIs have apparently been
established without significant disputes. The deadline for
the nationwide process of "demembrements" to be completed is
February 8.

9. (SBU) CPDC elder statesman Lol Mahamat Choua, reasoning
with his coalition partners in front of international
witnesses January 27, called on each of the two coalitions
that have taken shape in recent months to resolve internal
differences internally, and not to break ranks with political
brethren publicly, so as to try to encourage continued
cohesion according to a "manageable two-party-like
arrangement" in very fractious circumstances. The proposal
was accepted, with Lol's more disputatious coalition partners
making clear -- at his urging -- that their stated
dissatisfaction with the ruling party should not be seen as
constituting rejection of eventual national CENI decisions on
membership of the N'Djamena municipal CENI.

10. (SBU) The international community responded to the

NDJAMENA 00000065 003 OF 003


debate over demembrements by urging better coordination
between the CENI and CS, and by advising the head of the CENI
that it was incumbent on him and on his body to act in a
manner that could not be read as partisan.

--------------
TWO COALITIONS
--------------

11. (SBU) That all but 45 of Chad's 120-some political
parties have already aligned themselves with either the
ruling MPS or the opposition coalition CPDC strikes us as
something of a victory in itself: the credibility of the
upcoming elections will depend to an extent on the existence
of a credible opposition. The 45 outlyer parties consist
mainly of those who refused to sign the August 2007 Accords
on government-opposition reconciliation, or those that have
formed since the beginning of this year in the hope that
becoming a party will lead to receipt of government or
international financial aid. The international community is
strongly of the view that political party development in Chad
needs to include efforts to reduce the number of splinter
parties by encouraging compromise and formation of blocs.

--------------
ON THE HORIZON
--------------

12. (SBU) In the coming weeks, a package of revisions to
Chad's existing electoral laws and statutes will have to be
considered and passed by the National Assembly if elections
are to move forward according to the agreed timetable. The
package (essentially the same as a series of recommendations
put together by the IWG in December) was delivered by the CS
-- which has a watchdog role over major decisions of the CENI
-- to the National Assembly January 27. Assuming that
passage of the technical revisions can be accomplished
without undue delay, the next major challenge in Chad's year
of projected electoral milestones will be conducting the
electoral census to establish voting rosters.

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

13. (SBU) This is still an ambitious enterprise, but the
steady progress of Chad's fledgling "electoral machinery"
continues, with considerable help from friends in the
democratic donor community, in the knowledge that President
Deby expects results along the lines he outlined last
December. The fractiousness of the opposition remains a
feature of the political landscape here.

14. (U) Minimize considered.
NIGRO

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