INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Drc Elections: Validation of First-Round

Published: Fri 8 Sep 2006 10:21 AM
VZCZCXRO4846
PP RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1406 2511021
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 081021Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4742
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
UNCLAS KINSHASA 001406
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM KPKO CG ELECTIONS
SUBJECT: DRC ELECTIONS: VALIDATION OF FIRST-ROUND
PRESIDENTIAL RESULTS DELAYED
REF: KINSHASA 1345
1. (U) Summary. The DRC's Supreme Court has delayed rendering
its decision on the country's first-round presidential
results due to a debate surrounding the timing of the second
round of voting. The Court had been scheduled September 5 to
make public its decision, which would have validated the
results of the July 30 elections. It is not yet know when the
Court will now rule, but a decision could come as soon as
September 9. End summary.
2. (SBU) As reported reftel, the Court received eight
challenges to the provisional election results made public by
the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) August 20. One of
those challenges dealt with the CEI's decision to schedule
the second round of voting for October 29. The debate
surrounds little-noticed (up until mid-August) provisions of
the constitution and the electoral law which state the CEI
must proceed toward elections 15 days after the validation of
the first-round results by the Supreme Court. With the
October 29 date falling outside that time period, the
challengers argued that such an election would be in
violation of the law. Similarly, members of President
Kabila's inner circle -- including the President himself --
have been pushing the CEI to organize elections within this
15-day window. A more conventional interpretation of the
articles in question (one taken by members of he CIAT and
the CEI) states the Electoral Commisson must begin preparing
for the second-round eletions in that time frame, but not
necessarily hae them completed.
3. (U) In a communique releasd September 5, the Court
announced that it had fnished its work on the challenges
levied regardin the first-round results. The Court said,
howeve, that the question of the constitutionality of th
October 29 election date takes precedence over ny decision
on electoral challenges. As such, th Court will not release
its final decision until t has finished examining the issue
of the 15-daytime period.
4. (SBU) According to CEI Presiden Abbe Apollinaire Malu
Malu, the Court was not iclined to rule on this particular
issue, as it fll outside their competence and represented a
hypthetical scenario (especially since the 15-day perod had
not yet passed). The CEI has said publicl, however, that it
cannot hold elections 15 daysafter the validation of
first-round results due o logistical and financial
difficulties. Consequetly, the CEI has brought before the
Court -- at he Court's request -- an appeal asking for an
exension of the time required to organize elections ased on
"unexpected obstacles." Malu Malu said te CEI is basing its
appeal on another article of he constitution -- one which
statesthat in cases of unforeseen difficulty, the period for
holding elections can be extended for 60 to 80 days.
5. (U) Malu Malu said he expects the Court will render its
decision on this issue "soon," although he could not provide
a particular date for when it will occur. He said the Court
would at the same time release its ruling on the first-round
results. MONUC's Electoral Division chief Ali Diabacte said
he believed the Court would render its decision on September
9. The Court's delay in issuing a decision would not, Malu
Malu said, have any impact on the October 29 date forthe
next round of elections.
6. (SBU) Comment Additional delays in validating the
first-round results may risk further unnerving voters, many
of whom regard the Supreme Court, as well as the CEI, with
some degree of suspicion as being Kabila sympathizers. In
this instance, however, the Court was correct in not ruling
immediately on the issue of the 15-day requirement, as its
authority to issue such an advisory opinion is not clear. A
full election within 15 days is in any event simply not
possible, which the Court probably also recognizes as well.
Moreover, as the Court is likely to grant the CEI's request
for an extension, a ruling opposing the reported wishes of
the presidency demonstrates at least some degree of judicial
independence. "Prolonging" the time period for organizing the
elections will hopefully put an end to what has been another
distracting affair in the political process. End comment.
MEECE
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