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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07CONAKRY155 2007-02-08 15:48:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Conakry
Cable title:  

Interior Minister Promises to Deliver Free and Transparent

Tags:   PGOV ELAB ASEC CASC PINS AEMR EAID GV 
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1. (SBU) Summary. Despite the environment of uncertainty and
tension over the naming of a prime minister (reftel), Guinea's
government says it is moving forward with improvements to the
electoral process. Minister of State for Internal Affairs Moussa
Solano presided over the February 8 opening ceremony of a training
workshop for approximately 200 persons on the revision of electoral
lists. Solano celebrated Guinea's achievement in implementing
political reforms and called on the participants to ensure all
citizens receive modern voter identification cards. He stressed the
"political will of the government to guarantee free, transparent,
and credible elections." End Summary.



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Ministry Officials All Smiles for Attendees


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2. (SBU) On February 8, Minister of State for Internal Affairs and
Government Spokesperson Moussa Solano presided over the opening
ceremony for a workshop ostensibly in preparation for June 2007
legislative elections. There were over 200 participants from
Conakry, including mayors, political party and civil society
representatives, municipal general secretaries, district
chairpersons, and a journalist from the private media. The training
is the first of several that will inform citizens all over Guinea
about the process to revise Guinea's electoral lists. In addition
to Conakry, the seminars will be held in Kindia, Labe, Kankan, and
N'Zerekore; they are being organized by the Ministry of Territorial
Administration and Decentralization and funded by UNDP.



3. (SBU) Minister Solano was accompanied by the ministry's senior
staff including the General Secretary, Political Advisor, Elections
Department Director, and the directors of other divisions. They
were all smiles, warmly greeting Poloff who represented the Embassy
at the event. Although all of the other embassies in Conakry were
invited, few attended. UNDP was not represented, nor was the EU,
which is funding the equipment (7.5 million euros) to support the
new voter registration process.



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"Election Results Will Be Accepted by All Guineans"


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4. (SBU) In his opening remarks, Solano recounted the important
achievements that Guinea has made over the last 18 months, citing
single ballots, transparent boxes, and citizen involvement as poll
watchers in the December 2005 local and municipal elections. He
highlighted more recent advances made through the dialogue between
political parties and the government that yielded consensus on the
creation of an independent electoral commission, the status of
opposition parties, and financing of political parties. The next
step in the reform process, he said, is the deployment of advanced
equipment to greatly improve and modernize Guinea's voter
registration process.



5. (SBU) Solano said that although Guinean law sets aside October 1
to December 31 every year for the purpose of ordinary revisions, the
new equipment will provide an "extraordinary" opportunity to revise
lists in a way they have never before. (Comment. Although he did
not explicitly say it, Solano intimated that due to the difference
in the process, the revision is valid although outside of the
standard dates.) Solano invited all participants to pay close
attention to the training and make sure they fully understood the
new and improved voter registration process. This is critical, he
said, so that they can make the demarche about this electoral
process to all members of the political class.



6. (SBU) Solano emphasized that, "By taking advantage of the latest
technologies, we will stop irregularities in the voting process and
ensure that the results of the election are accepted by all Guineans
-- this is our deepest wish." Solano stated that voter registration
will be an inclusive process with thousands of Guineans serving on
more than 1,300 administrative commissions that will oversee the
revision process. He concluded, "You have the political will of the
government to do its part to guarantee free, transparent, and
credible elections."



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Comment


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7. (SBU) More interesting than the content of the training was the
surreal attitude of Solano and other government officials. The

CONAKRY 00000155 002 OF 002


minister and his staff acted as if they did not have a care in the
world except the electoral process, picking up their demarche where
they left off just before the strike. This is despite the phrase we
have heard repeated in all sectors of society, "After this strike,
everything is different - no more business as usual." Perhaps those
at today's event did not get the memo. During the course of his
remarks, Solano mentioned twice the name of President General
Lansana Conte; each time drawing loud applause from the
participants. Meantime, while Solano and those in attendance
proceeded with business as usual, the majority of the population
does not believe that credible elections can be "guaranteed" under
this regime. End Comment.

MCDONALD