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Cablegate: Se Gration Meets with Abdel Aziz On Elections Boycott

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DE RUEHKH #0308/01 0531400
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 221359Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0256
INFO IGAD COLLECTIVE
UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000308

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DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
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TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM SU
SUBJECT: SE GRATION MEETS WITH ABDEL AZIZ ON ELECTIONS BOYCOTT

1. (SBU) Summary: On February 18 U.S. Special Envoy (SE) to Sudan,
General Scott Gration met in Juba with Abdel Aziz El Hilu (SPLM),
Deputy Governor of Southern Kordofan state, who attempted to
explain the benefits of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement
(SPLM) election boycott in that state. Aziz stated that the 2008
census, upon which the National Elections Commission (NEC) based
voting constituencies, was conducted in an illegal manner which
intentionally under-counted and disenfranchised the Nuba people.
Aziz explained that the SPLM demands a repetition of the population
census in Southern Kordofan, and delaying elections to accomplish
this task is reasonable. Aziz said he recognized that elections
and popular consultations could proceed without SPLM participation,
simply asserting that without SPLM participation these processes
will not be valid. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On February 18 SE Gration met with Abdel Aziz El Hilu
(SPLM), Deputy Governor of Southern Kordofan state, who told SE
Gration that the SPLM will boycott elections in Southern Kordofan
and attempted to explain the benefits of this action. (Note: A
SPLM election boycott threat in Southern Kordofan state, unless the
government resets the census results and the NEC accordingly
redraws geographical constituencies for the state, was first
announced on January 24. This request was promptly rejected by the
NEC on January 25, with the NEC stating that there is not time to
redraw constituencies. End Note.)

3. (SBU) Aziz stated that the 2008 census, upon which the National
Elections Commission based voting constituencies, was conducted in
an illegal manner which intentionally under-counted and
disenfranchised the Nuba people. He noted systematic flaws in
preparations for the census, such as not allowing time for the
return of internally displaced persons (IDPs); the removal of
mines; the integration of the civil service; and census conduct,
such as a lack of census takers familiar with the people, languages
and geography of the Nuba mountains. He said these flaws led to
many areas not being covered by the census, although he admitted
that the SPLM boycott of the census in Southern Kordofan
contributed to under-counting. He said that the census is in fact
racist because it intentionally under-counted the Nuba and
over-counted the Arab tribes of the state, who the government in
Khartoum views as more likely to vote for the National Congress
Party (NCP).

4. (SBU) Aziz explained that the SPLM demands a repetition of the
population census in Southern Kordofan. He stated that he is not
certain how long this process will take but believed it could be
accomplished in a few weeks. He also said that delaying April
elections in Southern Kordofan three or four months in order to
accomplish this task is reasonable.

5. (SBU) Aziz informed SE Gration that the Khartoum government was
considering giving Southern Kordofan four additional seats in the
National Assembly, for a total of 21. He said, however, that
Southern Kordofan should have at least 27 seats based on a
realistic tally of Southern Kordofan's population in relation to
the population of Sudan as of the 1986 census. (Note: These
additional seats would need to be appointed by the Presidency as
there is not time for constituencies to be redrawn, with a
negotiated portion of these seats allocated to SPLM and NCP
appointees. End Note.)

6. (SBU) Aziz stated that if their demands are not met the SPLM in
Southern Kordofan are quite willing to proceed with the boycott and
pursue their grievances in Sudan's Constitutional Court. Aziz said
that in this case the SPLM will still act as opposition, but from
outside the government. Aziz said that the SPLM recognized the
risk that their Nuba constituency could suffer long-term
disenfranchisement through complete exclusion from local, state,
and national government, and loss of the opportunity for
participation in popular consultations, which require an elected
state legislature. He said that these risks have been calculated
and accepted.

7. (SBU) Comment. The NCP's subsequent agreement to rerun the
census in Southern Kordofan and postpone state-level elections
until then has validated Aziz's contention and shows the degree to
which the NCP is willing to give to SPLM demands in order for the

KHARTOUM 00000308 002 OF 002


elections to occur. That said, we are not sure that the SPLM will
be satisfied with a census rerun if the final tally does not meet
the SPLM's expectations. End Comment.
WHITEHEAD

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