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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07DILI189
2007-05-11 11:49:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Dili
Cable title:  

LANDSLIDE RAMOS-HORTA VICTORY GIVES OPPOSITION MOMENTUM

Tags:   PGOV  KDEM  TT 
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VZCZCXRO2327
PP RUEHLMC RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHPB
DE RUEHDT #0189/01 1311149
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P R 111149Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY DILI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3517
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0953
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUCNMCM/MCC COLLECTIVE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON 0903
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1012
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0838
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0754
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0694
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0546
RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN 0142
RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI 2880
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DILI 000189 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS
USUN FOR RICHARD MCCURRY
TOKYO FOR HANS KLEMM
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 5/11/2017
TAGS: PGOV KDEM TT
SUBJECT: LANDSLIDE RAMOS-HORTA VICTORY GIVES OPPOSITION MOMENTUM

REF: A) DILI 182 B) DILI 185

DILI 00000189 001.2 OF 003


CLASSIFIED BY: Elizabeth S. Wharton, Political/Economic Officer,
U.S. Embassy, Dili, East Timor, Department of Defense.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DILI 000189

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS
USUN FOR RICHARD MCCURRY
TOKYO FOR HANS KLEMM
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 5/11/2017
TAGS: PGOV KDEM TT
SUBJECT: LANDSLIDE RAMOS-HORTA VICTORY GIVES OPPOSITION MOMENTUM

REF: A) DILI 182 B) DILI 185

DILI 00000189 001.2 OF 003


CLASSIFIED BY: Elizabeth S. Wharton, Political/Economic Officer,
U.S. Embassy, Dili, East Timor, Department of Defense.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1. (SBU) Summary: It is now a virtual certainty that Prime
Minister Jose Ramos-Horta has won the May 9 runoff in a
landslide, having picked up the vast majority of votes
previously cast for the losing candidates of round one, while
ruling Fretilin party candidate Francisco "Lu'olo" Guterres
gained only a few percentage points more than on the first
round. Provisional results based on 100% of district returns
gave Ramos-Horta 69% of the vote to Lu'olo's 31%. Regional
differences remained strong, with the three eastern districts
strongly supporting Lu'olo in contrast to the rest of the
country. National tabulation is expected to commence the
evening of May 11 and will likely be a less controversial
process than the first round, reflecting improved election
logistics as well as the foregone outcome. The UN and
international observer missions have thus far characterized the
process as fundamentally free and fair, although concerns
regarding outstanding issues remain, especially as we look
toward the June 30 parliamentary elections. The results are a
major political blow to Fretilin, whose electoral invincibility
is now clearly a thing of the past. Meanwhile, the opposition,
although still divided among several competing parties, has
gained tremendous momentum with Ramos-Horta's victory. Despite
the overall success of this round, we will press all actors to
avoid complacency and immediately turn to addressing both
concerns about campaign conduct and needed improvements in the
electoral systems in preparation for the June 30 parliamentary
elections. End summary.

Ramos-Horta wins in landslide, but Luo'lo still takes the East
-------------- --------------


2. (U) As district level tabulation for the presidential runoff
election got underway the evening of May 9, it quickly became

evident that Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta was heading for a
landslide win over his opponent, Francisco "Lu'olo" Guterres,
the candidate of the ruling Fretilin party. The nationwide
voting pattern was clear: Lu'olo was receiving a similar
proportion of the votes he received in the first round,
augmented by only a few percentage points, while Ramos-Horta
succeeded in picking up the vast majority of the votes
previously cast for the losing candidates of round one. Early
result calculations were that Ramos-Horta was winning with 75
percent of the vote. However, as in round one, the eastern
district results which arrived last marginally boosted Lu'olo's
numbers. According to the most recent informal results
announced by the National Election Commission (CNE) late on May
11, Ramos-Horta received 69 percent to Lu'olo's 31 percent.
Current numbers indicate that in contrast to earlier
assessments, turnout may actually have risen for this round.


3. (U) The East-West political divide in East Timor is evident
in the district-level results. In all ten western districts,
including Dili, Ramos-Horta beat Lu'olo decisively. In
contrast, Lu'olo remained the top vote getter in the three
eastern districts. The current district-by-district break down
is as follows, with eastern and western districts marked with E
and W respectively in parentheses:
District Ramos-Horta Lu'olo
Aileu (W) 15,919 1,065
Ainaro (W) 16,303 5,104
Bobonaro (W) 30,172 5,473
Covalima (W) 17,075 5,299
Dili (W) 62,694 15,708
Ermera (W) 33,775 7,161
Liquica (W) 23,416 2,862
Manatuto (W) 13,447 3,215
Manufahi (W) 14,291 4,843
Oecusse (W) 19,228 6,848
Baucau (E) 16,686 33,332
Lautem (E) 12,829 13,480
Viqueque (E) 10,425 22,135
TOTAL 286,260 126,525

National tabulation and complaints process
--------------

DILI 00000189 002.2 OF 003




4. (U) The CNE reports that all boxes from the districts arrived
at CNE headquarters, where the national tabulation will take
place, as of about 3:00pm May 11. Verification that all
documents are in order is underway and CNE expects the national
tabulation to commence as soon as the verification is complete.
According to sources at the CNE, the verification process is
going smoothly and has so far revealed few of the problems
encountered in round one, such as missing or incomplete
documents accompanying the boxes. In addition, this round has
been accompanied by far fewer complaints; only two have been
received thus far. One alleged selling and purchasing of voter
cards, a widespread allegation during the campaign, but does not
include information on the location, timing or witnesses for the
accusation. The second cannot be characterized as a complaint
at all, as it simply states that there were no problems in Aileu.

Evaluation of conduct
--------------


5. (SBU) In an UNMIT briefing to the diplomatic corps this
morning, Special Representative for the Secretary General (SRSG)
Atul Khare characterized the May 9 poll as basically free and
fair. He emphasized that the decisive win by Ramos-Horta makes
them politically successful, regardless of technical issues,
because the country now appears to be largely united around the
results. He reported on his conversations with both Fretilin
Secretary General Mari Alkatiri and Lu'olo regarding the

SIPDIS
results, noting that both have indicated that they will accept
the results "with dignity" and now turn their focus to the goal
of gaining the greatest number of seats in the parliamentary
elections. The UNMIT briefing also addressed some key
outstanding issues that will require attention before the
parliamentary election. Attendees noted that in contrast to the
May 9 poll, the parliamentary election will be more complicated
and with far narrower margins, making further improvements
paramount.


6. (U) The U.S. mission fielded nine observer teams, covering
all districts of the country but two. Mission observers
observed some problems in the field, such as inconsistent
observer access and an intimidating voting environment in a
Fretilin stronghold area of Viqueque. However, in general,
mission staff found that the election-day process was smooth and
transparent. Other international observer missions have also
spoken highly of the process. The European Union, whose
observer mission has been resident in-country for the last two
months, released a statement today in which it said: "The 9 May
runoff presidential election has so far been well administered
and peaceful, with respect for the fundamental freedoms of
expression, assembly and association." However, the EU also
noted several key areas of concern, pointing out that the
campaign period was characterized by highly negative rhetoric on
both sides and that use of state resources for campaign purposes
was a serious problem. Moreover, the EU expressed its view that
the CNE remained under resourced and its powers too limited.

Political implications
--------------


7. (C) There appears to be a clear national consensus now that
Fretilin's electoral invincibility has been shattered. National
paper Suara Timor Lorosae ran a headline today announcing "The
people finally punish Fretilin leaders". Fretilin's use of some
unsavory campaign tactics and an apparent ballot stuffing
attempt, while troubling, appear to have had no significant
impact on the outcome. In fact, they may have backfired,
turning more people away from Fretilin as many Timorese in the
final campaign days compared their approach to Golkar's tactics
during the Indonesian occupation and by pro-integration forces
in 1999. Despite its questionable campaign record, Fretilin's
leadership has so far responded responsibly to both the
electoral defeat and the concurrent Court of Appeals decision to
uphold the seven and a half year sentence of party Vice
President and former Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato. (This
decision was announced on May 10, just as results showing

DILI 00000189 003.2 OF 003


Ramos-Horta's decisive win were pouring into Dili.) It remains
to be seen how Fretilin will adjust its campaign strategy
heading into the parliamentary elections. Fretilin sources have
told us that while their goal remains to obtain sufficient seats
to form the next government, they are also preparing for the
possibility of becoming an opposition party.


8. (C) The opposition now has the momentum heading into the
parliamentary elections, with the runoff results making it clear
that a united opposition can soundly defeat Fretilin. There is
general consensus that Ramos-Horta owes his electoral victory in
large part to the support of opposition parties who initially
fielded their own candidates. However, as the round one results
also show, a divided opposition can still leave Fretilin
occupying first place. Moreover, in contrast to this week's
poll, the parties again will be not only competing against
Fretilin but also with each other. In recent conversations,
outgoing President Xanana Gusmao who will take over the
presidency of the newly-established CNRT as of May 20, has
described a strategy in which he sees CNRT playing a role of
assisting other parties by drawing off Fretilin's fire and
giving other opposition parties greater political oxygen in
which to operate. However, the more common view is that
Fretilin will be able to maintain the percentages it has tallied
in both rounds of the presidential race, leaving the rest of the
field for the opposition to divvy up.


9. (SBU) Comment: Although significantly improved from round
one, there continue to be outstanding issues in the electoral
system which need to be addressed, as well as concerns regarding
campaign conduct. It is imperative that the electoral
authorities, government and parliament immediately turn to
addressing these issues in preparation for the June 30
parliamentary elections. The relatively smooth process of the
May 9 poll could have the downside of producing a level of
complacency which must be countered. The parliamentary
elections, involving 16 competing parties, will be more
complicated and the stakes are much higher. We will need to
remain actively engaged both in conveying strong messages about
campaign conduct and supporting concrete steps to improve the
legal framework and overall process. End comment.
NAGY