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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09ABUJA936 2009-05-28 15:51:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

NIGERIA: SENATE REJECTS ELECTORAL REFORM PROPOSAL

Tags:   PREL PGOV KDEM NI 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L ABUJA 000936 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/W, INR/AA
BAGHDAD FOR DMCCULLOUGH

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/26/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: SENATE REJECTS ELECTORAL REFORM PROPOSAL
FOR REGULATORY COMMISSION BILL

REF: A. ABUJA 794

B. ABUJA 517 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: Political Counselor Walter N.S. Pflaumer for reasons 1.4
(b) and (d)



1. (U) On May 26 the Senate voted to reject the Political
Parties Registration and Regulatory Commission Act 2009, one
of six electoral reform bills President Yar'Adua sent to the
National Assembly (NASS). Senators debated the bill for
three days before voting it down on the grounds that there is
no need to establish a commission solely for the purpose of
registration and regulation of political parties. According
to press reports, Senators argued that the Bill falls short
of the Nigerian public's expectations for electoral reform;
Senate President David Mark observed that the registration of
political parties is not one of the key problems with
Nigeria's electoral process.



2. (SBU) The main purpose of the Political Parties
Registration and Regulatory Commission Bill was to reduce the
power of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) over
political parties, a power which it was accused of having
employed to benefit the ruling People's Democratic Party
(PDP) in the 2007 elections. However, as some senators
pointed out, one of the shortcomings of the proposed
commission was that it was to be constituted in the same way
as INEC. Just as the governing board of INEC is appointed by
the President, the bill also called for members of the
proposed Political Parties Registration and Regulatory
Commission to be appointed by the President leaving the door
open for the registry to be used and manipulated as INEC is
today.



3. (C) Comment: The Senate's rejection of this bill is, at
least to some degree, likely a reaction against the Yar'Adua
Administration's pursuit of what many see as a sham of
electoral reform. The Senators may also have been laying
down a marker that they intend to demand a role in the
electoral reform process. Whether the National Assembly
finally steps up and improves not only its watch dog role on
the executive, but simply finally legislates something
concrete like good electoral reform remains to be seen. The
bottom line is that the list of electoral reforms from the
Electoral Reform Committee was drastically cut by the
Cabinet, then reduced further by the Council of State (see
ref B), and is now being cut back even more by the Senate.
These cuts have removed most of the significant changes
recommended by the Electoral Reform Committee last December,
and left only a smattering of bits and pieces. However,
House Speaker Bankole also claims he wants to have GON
electoral reform (see ref A) and the clerk of the House
recently asked for the actual Electoral Reform Committee's
(ERC) recommendations, which had not been sent to them. We
will see what they actually do with the ERC report. End
Comment.



4. (U) This cable was coordinated with Consulate Lagos.
SANDERS