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05DJIBOUTI157 2005-02-16 10:20:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Djibouti
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E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) SUMMARY: The Union for Presidential Majority (UMP), the
majority coalition, held its Convention February 6 at the
Equestrian Club in Djibouti City. The UMP is composed of four
political parties: People's Rally for Progress (RPP, ruling
party), Front for Unity and Democracy Restoration (FRUD), Social
Democratic Party (PSD) and National Democratic Party (PND). Seven
thousand persons attended the Convention, most of them members of
the four parties. The technical preparation and the colorful
arena hinted at foreign assistance for the staging, lighting and
sound equipment used. Information from a government official
indicated that the materials used in the Convention were those
for the Campaign of the President for upcoming elections in April

2005. Songs, poems and cheerful dances followed speeches from the
four parties' presidents. The Convention, which started at 19:00
on Saturday, ended around 00:00 AM Sunday morning. Of the
remaining four parties, the three of the Opposition coalition
have yet to name a candidate. The leader of the fourth opposition
party announced his candidacy in late 2004. End Summary.

2. (U) The Union for Presidential Majority's (UMP) Convention was
the first of its kind to take place in Djibouti. The goal of the
Convention was for the four parties to put in place a common
platform for the Presidential elections, which are scheduled to
be held on April 8. The four leaders gave speeches explaining why
they chose Ismail Omar Guelleh to be the UMP sole candidate for
the election. Idriss Arnaoud Ali, President of the National
Assembly and Secretary General of the RPP, made the opening
speech. He congratulated Guelleh for his wise choice of deciding
to lead the country for a second mandate. Moumin Bahdon Farah,
President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) spoke next. He
stated that the choice of his party to nominate Guelleh as its
only candidate came after reflection and observation of Guelleh's
economic, social and political achievements during his first
mandate. Some of the projects are still under way and it will be
necessary to re-elect Guelleh in order to finish these efforts.
Alluding to the current misunderstanding between Djibouti and
France concerning the death of French judge Borell, whose widow
claims that Guelleh's entourage assassinated her husband, Farah
said "one of the major points of agreement with the current
candidate is that he has allowed us not to be subject to the
mercy of one power."

3. Aden Robleh Awaleh, President of the National Democratic Party
(PND), also proclaimed PND support of Ismail Omar Guelleh. He
emphasized that Guelleh is the only person that can lead the
country safely and that it was a stroke of genius on the part of
Guelleh to offer military bases in Djibouti to foreign powers.
This would enable the population to gain substantial financial
income from the services it provides the troops. According to
Awaleh, "the sovereignty of Djibouti has been confirmed
thoroughly after 1999 (first year of Guelleh's mandate), even if
this feeling does not please a former colonial power. It showed
that we can discuss and sit with countries bigger than us and
talk to them equal to equal." Ali Mohamed Daoud, known as Jean-
Marie, President of Front for Unity and Democracy Restoration
(FRUD) Party, gave his speech in Afar. He said the choice of FRUD
to nominate Guelleh as UMP candidate was the result of Guelleh's
peace loving nature and his having done everything possible to
strengthen relations among communities.

4. (U) Ismail Omar Guelleh, candidate of Union for Presidential
Majority (UMP), in his speech, expressed delight over the support
of the four parties. In a long review of 1999 electoral campaign
promises, he highlighted the importance of beginning the
decentralization process, the strengthening of integral
multipartism, and integration of women in the political life with
a parliamentary quota of 10 percent. He reviewed the reasons for
organizing the Somali Peace Conference of Arta, and the adherence
of Djibouti to the international struggle against terrorism. "The
signature of treaties with foreign powers willing to install
their bases on our soil were tangible actions which have placed
Djibouti in the center of this planetary struggle," he stated.
Guelleh touched briefly on reform of the Nationality Code and
Family Code. On economic matters, he mentioned that 35 billion Df
(196 million USD) has been injected into the national economy by
Arab development funds from 2001 to 2005. Concerning Human
Rights, he reiterated his "conviction" on the importance of
freedom of speech and opinion for all. He stated that Djibouti
will no longer see a political prisoners or individuals jailed
for their opinions.

5. (U) Guelleh also said he will present his program concerning
all these subjects in detail during the campaign. Referring to
the Borell affair, Guelleh said, "The defense of national
sovereignty is not subject to concession. If there are people or
states that want to disrepute us through issues that we have
nothing to do with, they shall know that we will make no
concession in regards to our rights and our sovereignty."
Regarding projects in the near futures, Guelleh focused on making
water available for people without easy access to it and making
accessible to cheap electricity. On this last point, he talked
about studying investment possibilities in Aeolian (wind) and
solar energy. He also mentioned power interconnection with
Ethiopia and a seawater desalinization plant as possibilities for
fighting scarcity of water.