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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05BAGHDAD5161 2005-12-30 12:16:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

ELECTION COMMISSION PROCEEDING WITH COMPLAINTS

Tags:   PGOV PHUM IZ 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 005161 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/30/2015
TAGS: PGOV PHUM IZ
SUBJECT: ELECTION COMMISSION PROCEEDING WITH COMPLAINTS

REF: BAGHDAD 05131

Classified By: POL COUNS Robert Ford, reason 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (C) SUMMARY: Less than 25 serious, unresolved complaints
("red" complaints) lie between the Iraqi election commission
(IECI) and final certification of the elections, according to
International Commissioner Craig Jenness, down from 50 plus
original red complaints. Notably, the IECI has finished
resolving Baghdad complaints, disqualifying controversial
ballot
boxes. It is now going to work on complaints from cities
like
Baqubah, Mosul and Kirkuk. Meanwhile, additional
International
Mission for Iraqi Elections (IMIE) representatives are
gearing
up to arrive in the upcoming days to prepare a follow-on
assessment on these complaints, as well as on the
post-election
audits and political party participation. The political
groups
making complaining loudest about the election process,
including
Ayad Allawi's Patriotic List and the Sunni Arab Tawaffuq
Front,
issued statements late December 29 welcoming the additional
international monitor presence. By contrast, the election
commission's board worries that public credibility of the
elections will rest with IMIE's final report instead of the
election commission's determination of final results. Our
sources tell us that regardless of the IMIE's timeline, the
commissioners plan to announce their results when they are
ready. The election commission may finish with the "red"
complaints sooner than IMIE finalizes its expanded report.
If
that happens, we could see new unhappiness among the Iraqi
parties that demanded a stepped-up international mission to
review the election process in the first place. End Summary.



--------------------------


IECI FAST-TRACKING RED COMPLAINTS


--------------------------





2. (C) UN staff member and complaints officer Anan Sorri told
Poloff December 29 that the serious ("red") complaints from
observers about the December 15 election could be resolved as
early as January 2. (However, Sorri acknowledged that it may
be
too early to say whether the remaining serious complaints
will
need follow-on investigations.) Jose Aranaz, UN/IECI legal
advisor, told Poloff that the Board so far has moved quickly
in
making final decisions on the red complaints. As an example,
Aranaz pointed out that the Board decided 19 complaints cases
on
December 29 alone, primarily relating to Baghdad. Sorri
mentioned that the ballots boxes and tally sheets needed for
the
IECI to complete its investigations were already in the IECI
headquarters, making the fast process on many complaints
easier.



3. (C) Once red complaints are resolved, Craig Jenness told
Poloff December 29, the IECI would be able to announce its
final, certified results and seat allocations, officially
allocating the directly elected and compensatory seats. Two
days after this announcement, the IECI would receive
candidate
names for the compensatory seats, and would be able to
proceed
with a final certification of elected deputies' names.



--------------------------


IMIE ON ITS WAY, ?PRESS STATEMENT IN HAND


--------------------------





4. (C) On December 29, IMIE released a press statement
indicating that it was adding on to its preliminary election
findings by sending a team to produce an assessment of
complaint
issues, IECI audits, and political entity participation.
This
team, comprised of about 6 members, will include two Arab
league
members (ref). According to IMIE representative Mazen Chouib,
this team is scheduled to arrive in Baghdad January 3, and
start
work the following day.



5. (U) Some of the political parties who complained the
most
loudly about the election process have issued statements
welcoming the arrival of additional international monitors.
Ayad Allawi's Patriotic List urged the team to review reports
of
attacks on campaign workers and armed gangs preventing people
from voting, as well as possible tampering with ballot boxes.

Meanwhile, the Tawaffuq Front issued a statement saying that
the
work of these new international experts should "issue
appropriate decisions" that would make the results of the
election easier to accept.



--------------------------

---
BAGHDAD RESOLVED, DIYALA, KIRKUK COMPLAINTS LEFT


--------------------------

---



6. (C) On December 28 and 29, the Board moved to disqualify
more
than forty Baghdad ballot boxes, the majority of which were
in
Sunni-dominated districts of Karkh and Rusafa. According to
UN/IECI representatives, none of the votes in these boxes,
which
had not been included in the preliminary results, would have
affected the seat distribution of the election. After
reviewing
the ballot boxes, the IECI investigation team and the
International Election Assistance Team (IEAT) found
sufficient
evidence to indicate ballot-box stuffing. A large number of
votes in the boxes favored List 667 (of Sunni Arab politico
Salih Mutlak), while a limited number of boxes favored little-
known List 784.



7. (C) Now that red complaints in Baghdad have been
addressed,
the IECI is focusing on complaints from Diyala, Kirkuk and
Ninawa. The Diyala complaints unanimously allege ballot box
stuffing in several polling centers. The Kirkuk complaints
are
varied: some allege that the Turcomen double voted while
others
allege that the Kurds double-voted. The Ninewa complaints
allege that Peshmerga militiamen, as well as other Kurds,
were
brought in to double vote.



8. (C) The IECI Complaints office has not yet processed the
almost 2,000 non-serious complaints. Visibility on what
provinces these complaints came from and what type they are
will
not be available until after the IECI has finished with its
red
complaints.



--------------------------


COMMENT


--------------------------





9. (C) The Commissioners? greatest fear is that public
buy-in
and credibility of the elections will rest with IMIE's final
report, hence hampering the Commission's ability to smoothly
proceed with election certification. Neither the UN team
leader
nor the election commissioners want the IMIE to issue
"decisions," as called for by the Tawaffuq statement.
Regardless
of IMIE's timeline, the Commission plans to announce their
results when they are ready. The Commissioners, who
generally
are satisfied with the way elections were conducted, are
loathe
to proceed in any way that would imply that they need outside
help to ensure that their elections were credible.



10. (C) According to Aranaz, it is legally possible for an
entity to appeal any IECI Board decision (including seat
allocation) to the Transitional Electoral Panel, a 3-member
panel comprised of Higher Juridical Council Members. This
may
happen if there is not enough buy-in to the IECI's results.
According to Aranaz and Jenness, this has rarely been used in
the past, they cited the example of De-Ba'athification.
Without IMIE support or visibility during the certification
process, the likelihood of this occurring could increase.

KHALILZAD