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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06MANAGUA1429
2006-06-30 16:35:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Managua
Cable title:  

AMBASSADORS SHARE ELECTION CONCERNS WITH A/S

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  KDEM  NU 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #1429/01 1811635
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301635Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6802
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0127
RUEHHE/AMEMBASSY HELSINKI 0041
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 0449
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 3675
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 0085
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0204
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
						C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAGUA 001429 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/29/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM NU
SUBJECT: AMBASSADORS SHARE ELECTION CONCERNS WITH A/S
SHANNON


Classified By: Ambassador Paul Trivelli for reasons 1.4 (b and d)



1. (C) Summary: A group of ambassadors resident in Nicaragua,
most of whom are contributing funds to election efforts,
shared their conviction with A/S Shannon on June 26 that a
thorough international observation effort is necessary to
prevent fraud during the November 5 national elections. The
ambassadors are also concerned about fraud and governability
after the elections. Spanish Ambassador Jaime Lacadena
warned that FSLN candidate Daniel Ortega has a chance of
winning in the first round of voting if one of the Liberal
candidates does not concede in favor of the other before the
elections. End Summary.



2. (U) On June 26, A/S Shannon, Senior Advisor Tamburri,
Ambassador and Emboffs met with the ambassadors of Japan,
Norway, Mexico, Spain, Finland and Germany to discuss the
upcoming national elections in Nicaragua. The following is a
summary of their comments:



3. (C) GERMANY (Amb. Gregor Koebel): Germany's interests
coincide with those of the USG ) the Government of Germany
prefers to spend taxpayers, money efficiently and this can
not happen with the kind of rampant official corruption that
has plagued Nicaragua. Regarding the elections, Germany is
concerned about the possible (politically motivated)
exclusion of candidates.



4. (C) MEXICO (Amb. Columba Calvo): Mexico supports President
Bolanos in his fight against corruption and shares technical,
scientific and cultural cooperation with Nicaragua. Mexico
would like to see transparent elections and believes that the
OAS mission, and the observation effort generally, are very
important to minimize fraud on election day.



5. (C) JAPAN (Amb. Mitsuhiro Kagame): The FSLN and PLC are
very strong in rural areas ) one should not be deceived by
the level of support for the dissident candidates evident in
Managua. Eduardo Montealegre and Herty Lewites must organize
their party structures in rural areas. Japan recently
contributed $61,000 to the Democracy Center to promote voting
among young people, a key demographic in Nicaragua.



6. (C) NORWAY (Amb. Kirsten Christensen): Norway desires
clear and transparent elections, so the Government of Norway
has provided funds to support the OAS observation mission and
local observers under Etica y Transparencia. Christensen
agreed with Ambassador Kagami, but remarked that the ALN is
growing throughout Nicaragua. Christensen observed that,
despite the ambassadors' private personal preferences, the
direct endorsement of any candidate could be the &kiss of
death.8



7. (C) SPAIN (Amb. Jaime Lacadena): Spain maintains very
significant interests in Latin America. Lacadena stated that

he maintains his personal preferences regarding the
elections, but Spain will remain publicly neutral. The
Government of Spain is very concerned about governability
after the elections. President Bolanos has very honorable
intentions, but the lack of legislative support has
handicapped his administration, he remarked.



8. (C) Lacadena believes that the FSLN can capture 35-38
percent of the vote, and could possibly add 2-3 percent more
through fraud to avoid a runoff election. The FSLN vote is
very disciplined, he asserted. Lewites will only take five
percent of the Sandinista vote, plus six to eight percent of
the independent vote. Montealegre and Rizo will divide the
50 percent that remain unless one of them renounces in favor
of the other. Lacadena remarked that even if Montealegre
wins, he may be burning too many bridges with the PLC to be
able to form a unified Liberal block of deputies in the
National Assembly after the elections. In any event, he
believes the candidates will need to make concessions to
govern.



9. (C) FINLAND (Amb. Marja Luoto): Finland will head the EU
in July through the end of the year. The Finnish President
is personally interested in Nicaragua and has visited the
country eight times. The Government of Finland is concerned

what an Ortega presidency would mean for the EU,s efforts to
develop a free trade area with Central America as the EU is
not interested in negotiating with the countries
individually. Luoto stated that some of her contacts believe
enough FSLN leaders have business interests so that Ortega
would not radically alter economic policy, but she is
unconvinced. Finland is also concerned about governability.
Luoto commented that the war between the Executive and the
National Assembly has made doing business very difficult for
the donors.



10. (C) A/S Shannon responded that the USG understands that
the direct endorsement of a particular candidate would be
counterproductive. He clarified that although many in the
PLC still believe that the USG will make amends with
convicted PLC leader Arnoldo Aleman to prevent an Ortega
victory, for us Aleman is as much a problem as Ortega. A/S
Shannon stated that the USG will acknowledge the results of a
fair and transparent election, but we will not do business
with corrupt politicians.



11. (C) Comment: Lacadena may be overestimating the strength
of the FSLN "hard core" vote, which a recent poll indicated
was only 20 percent, and post estimates is at about 25
percent. Lewites supporters consistently claim that they
will win 20-25 percent of the Sandinista vote, although
Lewites' support seems to be largely concentrated in the
central Pacific region.



12. (U) Participants, U.S.:

WHA A/S Thomas Shannon
Ambassador Paul Trivelli
Senior Advisor Maria Tamburri
DCM Peter Brennan
Polcouns Victoria Alvarado
Poloff Timothy Smith (notetaker)
TRIVELLI