Viewing cable 08CONAKRY115
Title: MINORITY PARLIAMENTARY PARTY CONCERNED ABOUT

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08CONAKRY1152008-02-12 14:59:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Conakry
VZCZCXRO6086
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHRY #0115/01 0431459
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121459Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY CONAKRY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2163
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CONAKRY 000115 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
SENSITIVE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM ASEC GV
SUBJECT: MINORITY PARLIAMENTARY PARTY CONCERNED ABOUT 
ELECTIONS 
 
REF: A. CONAKRY 0089 
 
     ¶B. CONAKRY 0069 
 
¶1.  (SBU) SUMMARY.  Although leaders of the UPR opposition 
political parties see elections as an important political 
element, they remain pessimistic as to whether elections can 
be organized transparently and in a timely fashion.  They 
were circumspect with regards to Guinea,s current political 
environment, but seemed unconvinced that various actors will 
be able to find a workable solution to the political impasse 
stemming from a power struggle between the president and the 
prime minister.  END SUMMARY. 
 
¶2.  (U) Continuing a series of initial meetings with 
Guinea,s main political parties (reftel A), the Ambassador 
met with leaders of the Union for Progress and Renewal (UPR) 
opposition party on February 5.  Party President Ousmane Bah 
was accompanied by three members of his executive bureau: 
Mr. Yaya Keita (Administrative Secretary), Mr. Hamidou Diallo 
(External Relations), and Diao Kante (Elections).  All four 
UPR members are also deputies in the National Assembly, 
representing the only legislatively active opposition party. 
Poloff also participated in the meeting. 
 
-------------------------- 
NOWHERE CLOSE TO ELECTIONS 
-------------------------- 
 
¶3.  (SBU) After exchanging pleasantries, the meeting focused 
almost exclusively on elections.  Diao Kante told the 
Ambassador that everyone is waiting for a concrete idea of 
how much time is needed to register voters with the new kits 
being provided by the European Union and then everyone will 
agree on a date for elections and an appropriate preparatory 
schedule.  He noted that some Guineans are talking about 
holding elections as early as June, but that he is personally 
pessimistic about such a timeline.  According to Kante, one 
of the reasons behinds the CENI,s (National Independent 
Electoral Commission) budget woes is the fact that the 
commission has been unable to put together a well defined 
budget coupled with the fact that CENI financing was not 
included in the national budget passed by the National 
Assembly.  Kante noted that funds for campaign financing, 
which is permitted under the election reform law passed in 
2007, was also not included in the national budget.  Kante 
said that it will be difficult for the government to find 
money for elections since the newly returned IMF program does 
not allow for extra-budgetary expenditures. 
 
¶4.  (SBU) Kante also noted that the Guinean electoral code 
requires that at least 60 days must elapse between when the 
voter lists are completed and when elections are actually 
held.  He said that the registration process is likely to 
take a couple of months and if 60 days is added on top of 
that, Guinea will already be in its rainy season.  Kante 
added that he did not think it was possible to organize 
elections in 2008 and that they should probably be pushed to 
2009, which would mean that they could get pushed to 2010 and 
be held conjointly with the presidential elections in order 
to reduce the financial burden on the government. 
 
¶5.  (SBU) The Ambassador questioned whether the UPR thought 
budgetary issues were really the problem or whether political 
will was lacking.  Ousmane Bah chuckled at that point and 
said that political will is the underlying issue.  He said 
that the ruling Party for Unity and Progress (PUP) is not 
interested in elections and is blocking progress.  He noted 
that other opposition parties want the elections, but lack 
the courage to push back.  The Ambassador emphasized that if 
Guinea fails to hold legislative elections before the end of 
2008, the U.S. will be forced to seriously reconsider its 
proposed elections assistance program. 
 
------------------- 
DEMOCRATIC AT HEART 
------------------- 
 
¶6.  (SBU) Emphasizing that a strong democracy requires 
adherence to democratic principles within its organizational 
structures, the Ambassador asked Bah if the UPR sees itself 
as a democratic institution.  Bah said that the UPR is 
 absolutely democratic at heart, and that it will hold a 
national convention to elect the party,s candidates for the 
elections.  Speaking of democracy in general, Bah reminded 
the Ambassador that  it is just since April that we have had 
a true multiparty system,, and the parties are learning how 
to operate in this new system. 
 
CONAKRY 00000115  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
-------------------------------- 
ETHNIC PROBLEMS ) BUT NOT FOR US 
-------------------------------- 
 
¶7.  (SBU) Citing concerns about parties appearing to be 
organized according to ethnicity, the Ambassador asked Bah 
how the UPR sees the ethnic issue.  Bah acknowledged that 
much of the party,s support comes from the Fouta region 
(Peuhls), but that the party is represented throughout the 
country.  Although he did not necessarily see ethnicity as a 
major issue for the UPR, he told the Ambassador that he 
agrees that ethnicity is a problem that the political parties 
need to address. 
 
------------------------ 
PM HAS FAILED TO DELIVER 
------------------------ 
 
¶8.  (SBU) The Ambassador also asked Bah for his thoughts on 
the current political environment.  Bah said that Prime 
Minister Lansana Kouyate always seems to  say the right 
things,, but that his actions do not support his words.  He 
noted that the PM always claims that things are fine between 
the presidency and the PM, but that things are clearly at 
odds.  Bah added that the PM made a number of promises to the 
population and people are still waiting for those promises to 
be met. 
 
¶9.  (SBU) Turning to the labor unions, plan to resume a 
nationwide strike on March 31 if the January 27 Accords are 
not respected, Bah asked  what is our exit?,  He said that 
the problem has not been resolved and it is unclear whether 
the existing mechanisms are going to be able to offer a 
workable solution.  The Ambassador encouraged Bah to work 
with other actors toward a national dialogue.  Bah noted that 
the opposition parties planned to meet with the labor unions 
on February 6 to discuss opportunities for collaboration. 
 
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COMMENT 
------- 
 
¶10.  (SBU) Based on various meetings with political parties 
by the Ambassador and Poloff, all the parties seem to see 
ethnicity as a potentially dangerous, divisive issue in the 
upcoming elections ) but only for all the other parties. 
Ousmane Bah was no different although he did acknowledge that 
his support base is predominantly Fulani.  On the question of 
democratic structures within party institutions, all of the 
parties are equally eager to assure Embassy officials of 
their inherent democratic structure.  This may be true with 
respect to the 33 seats determined by individual prefectures, 
but it is much less clear for the remaining 81 seats which 
have traditionally been doled out according to various 
indicators of influence such as financial wealth, social 
status, etc. 
 
¶11.  (SBU) Echoing comments made to Poloff on January 23, 
Ousmane Bah and his UPR colleagues appear to be less than 
optimistic when it comes to elections.  They seem to agree 
that the elections are important, but less convinced that 
they can be organized transparently and in a timely manner. 
As the only opposition party in the National Assembly, the 
UPR deputies have more than six years experience dealing with 
the ruling party,s machine and are probably very familiar 
with real and potential  institutional blockages,, which 
could be coloring their outlook on elections.  At the same 
time, the UPR may be concerned about its own popular support 
since it initially began as more of a political construct 
designed to counterbalance the PUP.  With Sidya Toure (UFR) 
and Cellou Diallo (UFDG) likely to draw significant Fulani 
support, the UPR may be worried about its own political 
standing, and not unlike the PUP, less than eager to push too 
hard for elections that may end or reduce their political 
influence.  For the time being, the UPR seems to be in  wait 
and see, mode.  END COMMENT. 
CARTER