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04DJIBOUTI1377 2004-10-28 05:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Djibouti
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280544Z Oct 04
					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DJIBOUTI 001377 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/26/2014


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

1. (C) In the days after the ruling party, People's Rally for
Progress (RPP), held their conference nominating current
President Ismail Omar Guelleh as the party's choice for
presidential candidate in the 2005 elections, word of
discontent from the ruling coalition partners started to
surface. Some Majority Union for Peace (UMP), the ruling
coalition comprised of RPP, Front for the Restoration of
Unity and Democracy (FRUD), Popular Party for Social
Democracy (PPDS) and National Democratic Party (PND), party
representatives are apparently feeling cheated by Guelleh and
the RPP holding a single party congress.

2. (C) Word on the street reports that a UMP meeting one
month prior to the RPP congress was held in order to
determine a plan of action for the upcoming campaign season.
It is said that in this meeting the four parties agreed to
hold a joint congress to nominate the coalition candidate for
the 2005 election. PPDS and FRUD members say the leadership
was surprised to hear Guelleh and RPP had decided to hold a
unilateral congress. The party leadership also feels bruised
egos from Guelleh's call on the second day of the RPP
congress for the other three parties in the UMP coalition to
meet and adopt a joint position, something that was
reportedly formulated and decided upon one month prior in the
UMP meeting. The general thought is Guelleh wanted to
reassert his party's status as the sole party that really
gathers and rallies the masses.

3. (C) For the PPDS, two major personalities appear to be
leading the party, both of which are reportedly feeling
cheated and mistreated by the RPP. Moumin Bahdon, former
Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Boulaleh Barreh, former
Minister of Interior, are the driving force in PPDS and both
carry significant political and tribal weight. Bahdon and
Barreh are both of Issa origin but come from the two major
sub-clans that oppose the Mamassan sub-clan (Guelleh's
sub-clan of origin). The two reportedly intend to "show their
muscles" in the months before the election, knowing that it
would show the danger of collapse in Guelleh's coalition. The
idea of the appearance of a weak coalition and slight
political disturbances is likely not to reflect well on the
external image of Djibouti. This occurrence would be contrary
to everything Guelleh has worked to portray over the course
of his tenure as President. Rumors have it that PPDS may use
this tactic as a bargaining chip with Guelleh in order to up
their profile in government from just a Ministerial level to
a higher level in the Administration and security forces.
(Note: It has been said that this last request may be because
Bahdon had militia that was discreetly integrated into the
Army beginning this year. End Note.) Contacts within the PPDS
also mention that the party has the beginnings of a
generational conflict between "the rising generation" and
"the old dinosaurs."

4. (C) The FRUD leadership is rumored to believe that the RPP
has "misbehaved" and demands reparation. FRUD already holds
one ministerial position and 13 parliamentary seats. FRUD has
seen a sudden increase in young Issa membership. Some believe
this is in order to better portray itself as a national party
and further remove itself from the Afar rebellion roots that
created it. (Note: FRUD was one of the Afar parties that
rebelled in the early nineties, which started the country's
civil war. At the time of the peace accords in 1995, a
portion of FRUD leadership joined the government and the rest
remained in armed rebellion until the peace accords in 2001.
The latter faction of FRUD, headed by Ahmed Dini Ahmed, is
now the opposition party Republican Alliance for Democracy
(ARD). End Note.)

5. (C) The PND, headed by Aden Robleh Awaleh, has become the
suspicious party in the coalition. Awaleh's fax, read the day
of the RPP's announcement of Guelleh as their candidate, has
apparently surprised the two other coalition members as much
as, some say, high-ups in his own party. Opponents of Awaleh
are suspect of his actions and say that he had curried great
favor with Guelleh. Also it is said that his appointment to
the Parliament of the African Union in Johannesburg is a
reward from Guelleh and he is using it as an opportunity to
create business connections for himself and Guelleh.

6. (C) On the part of the RPP, it now appears that Guelleh is
more at ease following the death of Ahmed Dini Ahmed, leader
of ARD. Dini's presence has been a strong counter-balance to
Guelleh in the past. Guelleh is said to be in good shape
politically and is untroubled by Dini's successor, Ahmed
Youssouf, because Youssouf is not very active or charismatic.
Guelleh is said to be taking the attitude that there is no
large threat to his position and that the other parties of
the coalition should stay in the background and wait for his

7. (C) Comment: Post cannot accurately comment on how much of
the above rumor is truth. The majority of it is reported
through party members or word on the street. We will continue
to keep close watch on both ruling party and opposition
activities leading up to the election in 2005. These rumors
and reports from within the parties could indicate that
everything is not completely calm on either side of the
Djiboutian political fence.