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Cablegate: Elections Update: Ncp Concludes Nominations

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SUBJECT: ELECTIONS UPDATE: NCP CONCLUDES NOMINATIONS

1. (SBU) Summary: On January 27, the official nomination period for
Sudan's April 2010 national elections concluded with a mostly full
slate of National Congress Party (NCP) nominees in all twenty five
states of the country. Despite this, the NCP chose not to nominate
a candidate for the president of the Government of Southern Sudan.
President Bashir was nominated for President of the Republic. Some
governorship races were very contentious and drew party criticism,
which led to new nominees being selected. The NCP seems assured of
its success though they fear losses at local levels and in tribal
areas where local tribal nominees, regardless of party, will likely
fare better than outside candidates. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The nomination period for the NCP went smoothly according
to Ibrahim Ghandour, NCP Political Secretariat chief and
influential NCP heavy weight, during a January 28 poloff meeting.
While Ghandour acknowledged some NCP state committees seemed
frustrated by the process and rejected some governor candidates,
his overall attitude toward the election was decidedly positive and
confident.

------------------------------

BASHIR NOMINATED FOR PRESIDENT

------------------------------

3. (SBU) In a unanimous vote, the NCP "Shurra" (Leadership) council
nominated President Omer Al Bashir for the Presidency. In
accordance with the Political Parties Law, Bashir stepped down from
his post as Commander in Chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF),
although even the Ministry of Defense noted that his resignation
from the military would be temporary until his likely election in
April, 2010. Bashir has actively been campaigning since well
before his nomination as posters, bumper stickers and bill boards
all call for supporting this "national hero".

----------------------------------

NO NCP NOMINEE FOR GOSS PRESIDENCY

----------------------------------

4. (SBU) On January 27, the NCP announced that the party would
support Salva Kiir for President of Southern Sudan. While some
were surprised, the NCP's presidential adviser Ali Tamim Fartak
said that the move was to "maintain a good partnership" in the CPA.
Ghandour stated that the NCP knew they wouldn't win the race for
the GOSS presidency. In addition, Ghandour added that the NCP
wanted to send a positive signal that they are for continued CPA
implementation, and don't want to complicate matters by appearing
to "manipulate" the South. Still other opposition parties counter
that Lam Akol, former Government of National Unity (GNU) foreign
minister and former member of the SPLM, is the "real" NCP nominee
for the GOSS presidency as they accuse his new splinter party, the
SPLM-DC, of being allied with the NCP.

-----------------------------------

GOVERNORS REMOVED, NOMINEES CHANGED

-----------------------------------

5. (SBU) During the week of January 17, 2010, President Omar
Al-Bashir issued a presidential decree relieving the governors of
North Kordofan, South Darfur, River Nile, Kassala, White Nile,
Northern and El-Gadaref states. All NCP nominees in these states
are different from the current governors. President Bashir did not
relieve current NCP governors who were nominated to run for their
position including the governors of Khartoum, Gezira, Sennar, Red

KHARTOUM 00000182 002 OF 002


Sea, South Kordofan and North Darfur states. Due to contention
within the parties regarding the nominations, the NCP sent out
seven delegations to the contested states. Salah Gosh, former
director of the National Intelligence and Security Service, headed
a delegation to Kassala State. In addition the NCP sent Ahmed
Ibrahim El-Tahir, Speaker of the National Assembly, and Ibrahim
Ghandour to various states to resolve differences with the NCP
state-level committees. In the end, the NCP changed gubernatorial
nominations in two states, North Kordofan and Blue Nile States.
State-level committees were reportedly concerned about the
electability of candidates originally nominated. The committees
disagreed with Khartoum's decision to bring in outside nominees,
and argued that to guarantee maximum support, local nominees were
needed. Ghandour stated that the NCP was particularly careful to
take local sensitivities into account when selecting candidates for
Darfur.

------------------------------

GHANDOUR: NCP WILL CARRY THE DAY

------------------------------

6. (SBU) According to Ghandour, no one party is likely to win a
landslide victory in the elections. He believes that the NCP will
come in second in the south. Ghandour went on to state that the
NCP is focusing on the most challenging races in Khartoum, Darfur,
and Blue Nile states. The NCP is relying on women and youth to
campaign for the party. While Ghandour conceded that the NCP might
face difficulty in some races, he noted that Yasir Arman is the
only serious candidate to contest against Bashir, though he
insisted that Bashir would win easily.

7. (SBU) COMMENT: The NCP has long been preparing for elections,
and the nomination period was well planned for through NCP's
sophisticated state networks and party apparatus. Disagreement at
the state-level is evidence of divisions between NCP state-level
committees and the national NCP leadership. It is uncommon for
senior NCP officials to be dispatched to the state-level to resolve
issues. While it is too early to gauge the implications of the
latter, it is clear that disagreements within the party may play
out further as the campaigning period progresses. Unlike many
Sudanese political parties that saw a rise of independent
candidates due to dissatisfaction with the nomination process, the
NCP has remained fairly united and no independent candidates were
announced. END COMMENT.
WHITEHEAD

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