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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06SANJOSE304 2006-02-08 23:09:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy San Jose
Cable title:  

SLOW VOTE COUNT DELAYS ELECTION RESULTS

Tags:   PGOV CS 
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					  UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000304 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV CS
SUBJECT: SLOW VOTE COUNT DELAYS ELECTION RESULTS

REF: SAN JOSE 283



1. Less than 24 hours after polls closed, the Supreme
Electoral Tribunal (TSE) stopped posting updates to its
webpage with results from 88.4 percent of voting stations
already reported. At that point the leading candidates were
virtually tied with 3,250 votes separating them out of the
1.4 million cast. The TSE has since launched a special hand
count of the remaining 11.6 percent of the ballots but in the
past two days has missed two self-imposed deadlines for
reporting the remaining results.



2. The special count is being observed by representatives
from the various parties who reported that 92 percent of the
vote had been counted as of mid-day February 8. According to
these reports, Arias's lead has expanded slightly to around
3,800 votes, but the reports conflict as to the precise
number. The TSE announced that it would post updated results
on its webpage at 8:00 pm.



3. TSE Chief Magistrate Oscar Fonseca refused to speculate
when the TSE would finish its count of the remaining ballots.
After missing his two previous deadlines, Fonseca
acknowledged that this election was unlike previous years and
that counting was taking much longer than usual because every
vote is being carefully scrutinized by the political parties.
A mandatory manual recount of all the votes has also begun.
Official results will not be available until the manual
recount is finished. In previous years, this recount has
taken two weeks to complete.



4. Despite the delays and occasional lack of transparency on
the part of the TSE, the process has been orderly and the
public is patiently awaiting results. Both the leading
parties have been circumspect in their statements regarding
the election results, although Arias continues to express
certainty that he has won while Solis has asked the TSE not
to release any more results until the final manual recount is
finished. There have been no allegations of fraud to date.
LANGDALE