R 051237Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASMARA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9997
INFO IGAD COLLECTIVE
JICCENT MACDILL AFB FL
CJTF-HOA J2X CAMP LEMONIER DJ
HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
UNCLAS ASMARA 000536
DEPT FOR AF/E
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV SCUL ER
SUBJECT: DEMOCRACY OUTREACH REACHES ENTHUSIASTIC ERITREANS
1. (U) Embassy Asmara hosted a successful election watch on
the morning of November 5. Despite the 6:00am starting time,
the event drew attendees eager to witness the U.S. election
results televised live from three different networks. Open
both by invitation and to the general public, the event drew
a wide range of guests, from a high school teacher who
brought her class of Eritrean students to Yemane Ghebreab,
political chief of Eritrea's sole political party.
Non-American attendees also participated in a mock election,
favoring Senator Obama by a landslide. The election event
capped a month-long public diplomacy effort to educate
Eritreans on the U.S. elections and the democratic process.
All six events drew maximum capacity.
2. (SBU) COMMENT: Eritrea's president stated in May that the
country would not be ready for elections for three to four
decades. The enthusiastic response to Embassy Asmara's
election events, as demonstrated by the high turnout and
audience participation in the Q sessions, reflects
Eritreans' curiosity and longing for a democratic government.