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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06MANAGUA738
2006-04-03 21:36:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Managua
Cable title:  

JOSE RIZO, ALEMAN'S "CHOSEN ONE," SELECTED AS PLC

Tags:   PGOV  KDEM  SOCI  NU 
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VZCZCXYZ0017
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #0738/01 0932136
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 032136Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5807
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0609
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
						C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAGUA 000738 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/03/2016
TAGS: PGOV KDEM SOCI NU
SUBJECT: JOSE RIZO, ALEMAN'S "CHOSEN ONE," SELECTED AS PLC
PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

REF: A. MANAGUA 0728


B. MANAGUA 0720

C. MANAGUA 0709

D. MANAGUA 0674

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



1. (SBU) Summary: After receiving a large majority of votes
in the March 31 PLC "mini conventions," Jose Rizo was
ratified by the PLC general convention on April 2 as the
party's presidential candidate. RizoQ,s large margin of
victory (64%), as well as a last-minute change to divide
voting into 32 local districts rather than one vote at the
general convention (Ref B), was seen by many as proof that
Jose Rizo is PLC leader Arnoldo AlemanQ,s "chosen one."
After the vote, the other pre-candidates, initially critical
of the new selection process forced on them, endorsed Rizo to
maintain unity in the party. Presidential candidates Eduardo
Montealegre and Jose Antonio Alvarado also commented on the
vote, with Montealegre proclaiming Rizo the hand-picked
candidate of Aleman and Alvarado offering platitudes about
Liberal unity. End Summary.

RIZO WINS BY SUSPICIOUSLY WIDE MARGIN
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2. (U) With 720 of 738 possible votes counted by April 2,
Jose Rizo took the lead with 463 (64.3%). Enrique Quinonez
came in a distant second with 124 votes (17.2%), followed by
Ramiro Sacasa with 69 votes (9.6%), Francisco Aguirre Sacasa
with 53 votes (7.4%), and Haroldo Montealegre with 11 votes
(1.5%). Out of 32 districts counted, Rizo lost only five:
Carazo and Miami went to Quinonez; Ramiro Sacasa won one
district in Nueva Segovia and Jinotega Q) RizoQ,s native
department; and Francisco Aguirre Sacasa took the third
district of Managua.



3. (U) All of the pre-candidates except Rizo initially
protested the decision of the PLC's Central Committee (CEN)
to transfer the voting process from a secret vote at the PLC
general convention to 32 "mini conventions," possibly with
open voting, depending on the preference of the local
convention members. The other pre-candidates protested
strongly (Ref B), stating that the vote would not be free of
Aleman's influence, and eventually forced the CEN to agree
that all of the voting would be private, though the
"mini-conventions" remained. Despite losing a process that
many saw as clearly influenced by Aleman, all of the
pre-candidates ultimately closed ranks and endorsed Rizo at
the April 2 general convention. Even Enrique Quinonez, one
of the strongest opponents of the "mini-conventions"
proclaimed, "There was no 'dedo' (Aleman's influence on the
vote), long live Dr. Rizo!"



4. (U) Jose Antonio Alvarado, presidential pre-candidate for
APRE, equivocated when asked if he would consider becoming
Rizo's vice presidential candidate, instead repeating his
desire to promote "Liberal unity." Alvarado confirmed that
APRE is negotiating with both the PLC and ALN-PC to form an
alliance and again mentioned proposals to use multi-party
primaries to unite the anti-Sandinista forces.

ALN-PC: PLC CONVENTIONS A "SHOW"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



5. (U) ALN-PC spokesman Eliseo Nunez called the PLC
"mini-conventions" a "party show," claiming that all of the
convention members were selected by Aleman. Nunez claimed
that Rizo's defeat in Jinotega was planned on purpose to try
to give the vote an air of legitimacy. (Note: We have heard
repeatedly first hand that Rizo is not popular in Jinotega as
locals blame him for not delivering any benefits to the
department during his tenure as vice president. End Note.)
Eduardo Montealegre stated that the results clearly indicate
that Jose Rizo is Aleman's "chosen one." Rizo responded by
enjoining the PLC to unite to defeat the FSLN and the "party
of the bankers" (ALN-PC).

COMMENT: TIME IS RIPE FOR PRIMARY PROPOSAL
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6. (C) Rizo has repeatedly signaled his willingness to
participate in primaries, whether internal or multi-party.
Now that he has been designated as the PLC's candidate, we
can use our primary proposal (Ref C) to test his resolve.
Businessman Carlos Pellas told Ambassador on April 3 that he

would support the primary proposal, financially if necessary,
and encourage the candidates to accept the terms. The PLC's
response to the proposal will show if Rizo truly has the
ability to direct the party away from Aleman, as he claims,
or if he is merely a figurehead.
TRIVELLI