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04DJIBOUTI1250 2004-09-27 12:07:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Djibouti
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DJIBOUTI 001250 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/26/2014


Classified By: Pol/Econ Erinn C. Reed for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (U) Summary: The death of Ahmed Dini Ahmed on September
12, figurehead of the political opposition coalition Union
for Democratic Alternance (UAD) and president of the
Republican Alliance for Democracy (ARD) opposition party,
will have significant impact on Djibouti's upcoming regional
and presidential elections, as well as on the future of the
opposition movement. The question of who will succeed Dini
as head of UAD is certain to create contention among the
opposition, however the official decision will not be made
until at least after the ARD congress in October. The results
of this congress will impact opposition approaches to
upcoming elections. End Summary.



2. (U) In the January 2003 legislative elections, the UAD won
36.9 percent of the vote. This was the most significant gain
for the opposition since the beginning of Djibouti's
democratization in 1992. The main factor behind this
percentage was the union of the opposition behind the
charismatic leader, Dini, who was effectively the glue
between the opposition parties. The looming question is
whether the next leader of UAD chosen will be Afar or Somali.

3. (C) A secondary question that must be asked is: Will the
opposition coalition hold together or splinter? In theory,
whoever heads the UAD will be the opposition candidate for
the presidential elections next spring. In reality, there are
several paths for the opposition to take. Rumors about town
suggest that opposition parties MRD (Movement for Democratic
Renewal) and UDJ (Union for Democracy and Justice) might want
to break the Afar hold on the lead of the opposition
coalition. If an opposition member of Somali ethnic origin
were to be placed as the presidential candidate opposite
Guelleh, there is a potential for more Somali votes to go to
the opposition. In this case, the Afar vote will only go to a
Somali opposition candidate if he has a truly national vision
and stays far from partisan politics. On the other hand, if
the Afars maintain their hold on the opposition leadership,
the ruling parties will depend on the Somali vote to tip the
scales. In a third scenario, where the opposition presents
two candidates - one Afar and one Somali, the opposition will
most likely garner the majority of the Afar votes. The
Somali voters in this instance be split along tribal or clan
lines, which could result in a decrease in the ruling party's

4. (C) Dini was the last big name in terms of opposition
leaders for the Afars. The Afar community will feel a void
where Dini once sat as there is not yet a credible
personality that can argue the Afar interests as convincingly
as did Dini with the ruling Issa majority. There are other
candidates but all lack the ease and eloquence of Dini.



5. (C) At the moment, there are two camps vying for
succession to Dini: those that claimed they fought political
battles with him during his exile, and Dini's family and
party cohorts. The most active are Kassim Ahmed Dini, Ahmed
Dini's son, and Ahmed Youssouf, vice-president of ARD. In
addition, Mohamed Daoud Chehem, president of PDD (Djiboutian
Party for Democracy), Kassim Ali Dini, nephew of Ahmed Dini
and member of ARD, Daher Ahmed Farah, president of MRD, and
Ismael Guedi Hared, president of UDJ (Democratic Union for
Justice) are vying for succession.

6. (C) Kassim Ahmed Dini is known to possess great
determination, however, he is not a likely candidate because
of his youth and extreme tendencies in arguing for Afar
interests. Some feel that Kassim Ahmed is too focused on the
Afar plight and ignores the other communities. Kassim Ahmed
is also the editor-in-chief of La Realite, ARD's opposition

7. (C) Ahmed Youssouf, former Minister of Port in the late
80's, is viewed as hot tempered and quick to react. He is the
more likely candidate than Kassim Ahmed, but projections on
how well he will do outside the ARD party cannot be made at
this time.

8. (C) Mohamed Daoud Chehem, is fairly balanced in terms of
integrity and background. He has not displayed any tribal or
clan favoritism, nor views that might qualify as extremist.
Chehem served as Finance Minister from 1987 to 1991 before
becoming an active leader in the armed rebellion by the FRUD
party during the civil war in 1991-1993. Chehem announced
last Monday his candidacy for President of Djibouti in the
coming elections. He said that his candidacy only speaks for
his party and not the entire opposition coalition. Chehem
stated the priorities of PDD's candidacy in a press release
to Agence France Press as being "the re-establishment of the
authority of the State and the introduction of the rule of
right, the democratization of the public life, the
installation of an independent justice, the fight against
corruption and nepotism and the restoration of public

9. (C) Daher Ahmed Farah is well-known in the Djiboutian
political scene. Farah was arrested several times in 2003
for comments made against government officials in his party's
journal (MRD), La Liberte. Former military turned
journalist, Farah has no experience in public affairs. MRD
is comprised mainly of Issa sub-clan Fourlaba ethnic
Djiboutians. The Fourlaba do not have a wide spread base
throughout Djibouti, so a Fourlaba candidate may not garner
many votes outside the sub-clan.

10. (C) Ismael Guedi Hared, Issa sub-clan Saad Moussa, was
known to be very generous towards his sub-clan, but very
partisan against the other communities during his tenure in
public office. If chosen as opposition candidate, only his
sub-clan will be 100 percent supportive.

11. (C) Comment: The key point in a discussion of the impact
of Dini's death on Djiboutian politics is whether the
opposition coalition will remain intact or the four parties
go their own direction. The motivation behind PDD President
Chehem's declaration of candidacy is a linchpin to
deciphering this particular mystery. If Chehem's declaration
was done in collaboration with and the consent of the other
three opposition parties, we might safely project that the
opposition will present an Afar candidate and a Somali
candidate. Chehem's press release to AFP indicated that, in
the event of a second round tie-breaking vote he would defer
to the opposition candidate who gained the most votes. This
could indicate that the other parties were well aware of this
action. If the opposite holds, this could indicate that PDD
is breaking from the coalition but leaving a loophole in case
of success.