INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Oas Eom Expects Vote Transmission Problems On

Published: Thu 2 Nov 2006 08:18 PM
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB
DE RUEHMU #2442/01 3062018
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 022018Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8109
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAGUA 002442
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/USOAS, WHA/CEN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/02/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR KDEM NU
SUBJECT: OAS EOM EXPECTS VOTE TRANSMISSION PROBLEMS ON
ELECTION DAY
REF: A. MANAGUA 02074
B. MANAGUA 1593
C. MANAGUA 1555
D. MANAGUA 0565
E. 2005 MANAGUA 2806
Classified By: Ambassador Paul A. Trivelli. Reasons 1.4 (B,D).
1. (C) SUMMARY: The OAS issued a communique factoring in
the Ambassador's recent observations to OAS Election
Observation Mission (EOM) chief Gustavo Fernandez. The OAS
EOM is coordinating closely with other observation groups and
will meet with the White House delegation. Fernandez
believes that potential problem areas include vote
transmission delays/failures; systematic contesting of the
vote results; early declaration of victory by one candidate;
and, marked differences between quick count and CSE results.
While he is confident that the OAS will detect any major
manipulations of the vote count, he admits that changes
affecting the results of the National Assembly seats will be
harder to detect. He also believes that, regardless of
election outcome, democracy here will advance to some degree;
however, Nicaragua's constitutional changes will seriously
limit Eduardo Montealegre's ability to govern if he wins the
election. The Sandinista Front (FSLN)-dominated CSE could
exploit data transmission interruptions to enable the early
results to favor FSLN candidate Daniel Ortega, who in turn
could use these results as justification to declare early
victory. END SUMMARY.
OAS ISSUES COMMUNIQUE, WILL RELEASE FOUR PRESS RELEASES
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2. (C) As OAS EOM Chief Gustavo Fernandez had assured
Ambassador on 01 November, the OAS issued a communique
through dailies La Prensa and El Nuevo Diario on 02 November.
The communique factors in the Ambassador's observations to
Fernandez regarding the need for the CSE to facilitate cedula
and temporary voter card documents, to dissuade political
parties from engaging in disinformation campaigns
(specifically the PLC's claims that Montealegre has withdrawn
his candidacy), and to urge all political parties to refrain
from declaring early victory. Highlights of the communique
follow:
--the CSE, political parties, media, and institutions should
ensure the maximum participation possible on November 5 by
doubling their efforts to urge Nicaraguans to pick up their
cedulas and temporary voting documents before election day;
--the CSE must guarantee that any remaining cedulas/temporary
voting cards in its possession are properly secured; the OAS
will accompany the CSE in the process;
--Nicaraguans should be prudent and wait for the CSE's
official vote results;
--Nicaraguans should avoid rumors and pronouncements of
actions that could affect the normal development of the
electoral process;
--political actors should reduce their level of verbal
confrontation.
--the media has a special role in helping fortify democracy
and peace in Nicaragua by disseminating accurate and
comprehensive information
--the EOM is convinced that Nicaragua's democratic system
will be consolidated with massive civic participation,
responsible political leadership, electoral authorities'
strict adherence to the norms, and civil society's
transparent and independent observation.
3. (SBU) According to Fernandez, the OAS EOM will issue four
press releases on November 5-6. The first release will be
issued at 12 noon on Sunday and will cover the overall
situation at the JRVs, logistics, and security matters. The
second will be issued at 5 PM and will cover voter turnout.
The third will be issued at 10 PM and will include
observation of the process and the closure process. The
fourth release, to be issued around 10 AM on Monday, will
cover data transmission and impugnaciones.
OBSERVER COORDINATION ON TRACK, SOME CONCERNS REMAIN
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4. (C) Fernandez noted that the OAS is coordinating
information sharing with the EU EOM, Carter Center, the
Donor's Group, and others supporting the observation process.
Responding to the Ambassador's news that a small White House
delegation will be present for the elections, Fernandez said
he would be pleased to meet with them. He then shared what
he considers could be "minor, isolated incidents and major
problems":
Minor incidents:
--lack of and/or theft of voting materials in some voting
tables (JRVs);
--some cases of "raton loco" (redirecting voters to other
JRVs because they do not appear on the JRV list);
--last-minute changes in JRV locations; and,
--protests over non-delivery of cedulas (he noted most cedula
delivery problems have occurred in Boaco, Leon/Chinandega,
and Matagalpa/Jinotega areas).
Major problems:
--probable failures in vote data transmissions (the CSE has
admitted that its preliminary tests thus far have been flawed
due both to incompatible equipment and poorly trained
personnel who are not properly handling fax and scanning
equipment);
--waves of systematic vote result challenges (impugnaciones)
by losing parties at particular JRVs; and,
--early declaration of victory by one candidate followed by
denunciations of fraud; and,
--marked differences between quick count and CSE results.
5. (C) Fernandez remarked that if the OAS detects serious
irregularities during any stage of the electoral process, it
will issue a statement to the effect that it is "analyzing
the situation to determine whether or not the election is
legitimate."
VOTE FRAUD - MANIPULATIONS MORE LIKELY FOR ASSEMBLY SEATS
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6. (C) Regarding allegations we are hearing that the CSE
will manipulate vote results at its central computation
center (see October 30 and November 1 updates), Fernandez
noted that the observers and the quick count would uncover
major manipulations. However, he admitted that minor changes
affecting the results of the National Assembly seats would be
harder to detect.
NICA DEMOCRACY WILL PROGRESS REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME, BUT
IF MONTEALEGRE WINS, HE WILL FACE A BATTLE FROM THE START
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - -
7. (C) In Fernandez's view, regardless of outcome of
Nicaragua's November 5 elections, its democracy will advance
to some degree, as the new National Assembly will include
members of Nicaragua's emerging parties. However, he warned
that the implementation of Nicaragua's constitutional changes
eroding the power of the executive (effective January 20,
2007) will seriously limit Eduardo Montealegre's ability to
govern if he wins the election.
COMMENT
- - - -
8. (C) The FSLN-dominated CSE could exploit the expectations
that data transmission interruptions and delays will occur to
allow early results to enter from areas favoring FSLN
candidate Daniel Ortega, who in turn could use these results
as justification to declare early victory. And, at polling
tables where Ortega and/or Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC)
candidate Jose Rizo are weak, contesting these results
(impugnaciones) could eliminate votes that favor competitors
Eduardo Montealegre and Edmundo Jarquin of the Nicaraguan
Liberal Alliance (ALN) and the Sandinista Renovation Movement
(MRS), respectively. While the FSLN appears to possess the
muscle to assert victory (on 01 November, FSLN militants
virtually paralyzed Managua for hours as they took control of
all of the city's major traffic circles and choke points),
the National Police Commissioner Aminta Granera tells us that
the police only have enough tear gas and rubber bullets to
deal with election-related violence for two days.
TRIVELLI
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media