INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Splm Announces Nominations for Elections

Published: Thu 28 Jan 2010 06:01 AM
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RR RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #0150/01 0280603
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 280601Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0069
INFO IGAD COLLECTIVE
UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000150
SENSITIVE
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NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM SU
SUBJECT: SPLM ANNOUNCES NOMINATIONS FOR ELECTIONS
1. (SBU) Summary: From January 14-20, the Sudan People's
Liberation Movement (SPLM) Polit-Buro (PB) met to review candidate
selections and nominations. While the discussions were reportedly
tense at times, the PB has publicly announced their candidates for
president, governors and the legislative assemblies. Members of
the PB told us that they believe the SPLM will do very well in the
upcoming elections. Members of the Nuer ethnic group were
significantly underrepresented among the gubernatorial nominees.
However, Secretary General Pagan Amun told us that the SPLM will
make other concessions to them in the nominations for the
legislative assemblies. Amun also told us that in order to
mitigate local tensions over nominations, the SPLM are trying to
ensure all SPLM nominated candidates get involved in the
campaigning for governors. End Summary.
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YASIR FOR PRESIDENT!
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2. (SBU) While the announcement of SPLM Deputy Secretary General
Yasir Saeed Arman for president came as a surprise to many,
Minister of Presidential Affairs Luka Biong and the SPLM Secretary
General Pagan Amun assured us that the decision was made after
considerable discussion and planning. Biong told us that there was
a lot of thought put into making the decision. He explained that
Yasir's recent involvement in the passage of the three key
outstanding laws had impressed GOSS President Salva Kiir and many
within the SPLM. GOSS Representative to the U.S. Ezekiel Gatkuoth
told us that Yasir's name was the third nomination for president
after Blue Nile Governor Malik Agar and SPLM Secretary General
Pagan Amun. Amun told us that the decision to nominate Yasir was
based on his credentials as a popular SPLM figure, Muslim, Arab
and could, in the SPLM's view, "beat al-Bashir."
3. (SBU) Biong agreed with this assessment, but intimated that
other factors were also at play. In Biong's view, Governor Agar
had to run in Blue Nile in order to "save" the state for the SPLM
and ensure that the popular consultations called for under the
Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) take place. Biong felt similarly
about Abdul Aziz in Southern Kordofan, stating it was more
important for the SPLM to win the gubernatorial races. (Note:
Recent press reports claim that the SPLM will boycott Southern
Kordofan elections, although post has not been able to confirm that
with SPLM leadership). Biong told us that Amun was too easy a
target for the NCP, who would knock him for not being Muslim or
Arab. Biong explained that while the SPLM had wavered about
putting forth a candidate, the "arrogance" of the NCP when it
demanded the SPLM not field a presidential candidate, forced the
SPLM to choose a viable option. All agreed that it was key that
Yasir was from the north, not only to win the election, but because
he would be able to hold on to the presidency after the referendum,
regardless of the outcome.
4. (SBU) While the majority of SPLM believe that they have a strong
candidate in Yasir, they did acknowledge the need to build
alliances in the North. Biong admitted that the SPLM would
probably need to look into coalition building, but thought that
they probably would not enter into any firm pacts until after the
first round of voting, which he added Yasir would have no problem
getting through. Amun agreed that the SPLM would need to seek
allies in the north, but did not specify who the SPLM was
considering, while Ezekiel said the SPLM were already speaking to
Umma Party leader Sadiq al-Mahdi and others in the north. Amun did
admit to meeting with a Sudan Liberation Movement Abdul-Wahid's
faction (SLM/AW) delegation in Juba recently to discuss possible
coalitions in Darfur and claimed that Abdul Wahid was planning to
travel to Juba in the near future to discuss a coalition with the
SPLM further (Note: The SPLM has been reporting that Abdul Wahid
will "soon" return to Sudan for several months now).
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KHARTOUM 00000150 002 OF 002
Governors Races Are Very Close
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5. (SBU) The governors' nominations were very competitive
throughout Southern Sudan and resulted in a number of tense and
disputed decisions. Problems began in some states with the
establishment of electoral colleges and nomination processes from
the capitals. There have been appeals and complaints to the SPLM
Secretariat about these processes. Biong admitted that thus far
the SPLM have not handled the complaints processes well and are
looking for ways to resolve the controversies.
6. (SBU) In Unity State in particular, an electoral college was
never established, when opposing SPLM factions within the state
could not agree on its makeup. During the PB meeting in Western
Equatoria, Northern Bahr el-Ghazal, Jonglei, Unity and Central
Equatoria, governorship candidates were chosen by secret ballot.
While many believed the vote in Unity would be close, Ezekiel told
us that the incumbent Governor Taban Deng secured 15 of 27 votes,
while candidate Joseph Mongtuil supported by the Vice President
Riek Machar and Paulino Matiep only secured 6 votes. However, the
PB decided in order to quell tensions over the nomination,
legislative nominations in Unity would be split fifty-fifty between
the two factions. The unpopular incumbent governor of Central
Equatoria, Clement Wani, won by one vote to the dismay of many
within the SPLM. The situation in Jonglei was also initially tense
between incumbent governor Koul Manyang and Minister of Energy and
Mines John Luk Jok; however Jok was compensated for not hindering
the SPLM gubernatorial candidate with a the legislative nomination
for Akobo, Jonglei.
7. (SBU) Amun explained that the SPLM made terrible decisions in
Central Equatoria and Upper Nile, but he believed that the SPLM
will be able to secure the other eight states in the south, Blue
Nile and Southern Kordofan, and possibly a governorship in Darfur
and Khartoum. He plans to try to mobilize those candidates that
did not secure the SPLM nominations to support the gubernatorial
nominees, acknowledging that the SPLM would then owe the
individuals positions after the elections. Amun told us that he
did see a imbalance with the gubernatorial nominations, with only
two Nuer candidates securing the nominations -- in Upper Nile and
Unity States. He explained that the SPLM was trying to ensure
better ethnic balances through its nominees for the Southern Sudan
Legislative Assembly (SSLA).
8. (SBU) Comment: The nomination process has not been easy for the
SPLM, and many believe there are even more difficult times ahead.
Angelina Teny, State Minister of Energy and Mining in the
Government of National Unity (GoNU), who comes from a prominent
Nuer family as wife of Riek Machar has already declared her
intention to run an independent campaign against the SPLM
gubernatorial candidate in Unity state. We do not expect to see
additional independent candidates from erstwhile SPLM heavyweights
who felt short changed by the nomination process since the
nominations process closed on January 27. On the Presidency, we
view Yasir Arman's odds of being elected long at best.
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