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WikiLeaks: 2005-10-14: 05BAGHDAD4225: Iraqi Referendum Update: Preparations Moving Ahead Smoothly

Posted: Friday, October 28, 2011 at 07:02 PM CT


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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05BAGHDAD4225 2005-10-14 14:10 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
This record is a partial extract of the original cable.
The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 004225 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/14/2015 
REF: A. (A) MOSUL 0149 
     B. (B) MOSUL 156 
     C. (C) BAGHDAD 4122 
     D. (D) BAGHDAD 3868 
     E. (E) BAGHDAD 3795 
Classified By: Political Counselor Robert S. Ford for 
reasons 1.4 (B) and (D). 
1. (C) SUMMARY.  IECI reports that referendum planning 
logistics and security have proceeded as planned with 
only minor problems, including in provinces with 
significant Sunni Arab populations.  Preparations have 
moved forward far more smartly than they did in 
advance of the January 2005 elections.  Ahead of 
referendum day, detainee voting took place on October 
13 at Abu Gharib and Camp Bucca by an IECI mobile 
team.  IECI also expressed flexibility regarding last- 
minute changes to accommodate voters who are displaced 
by military activities in Anbar province.  Unofficial 
figures show that over 170,000 domestic and 
international observers and monitors have registered 
with the IECI in Baghdad and through their governorate 
offices.  Due largely to printing and distribution 
problems, UNAMI reports that approximately only 3.8 
million of the intended 5 million draft constitutions 
were distributed.  Remaining concerns include post- 
voting fraud and the formal complaint procedures.  END 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
2. (C) UN/IFES Coordinator David Avery told PolOff on 
October 13 that all logistics and security 
preparations were proceeding better than expected.  He 
emphasized that while all materials had already 
arrived at the IECI warehouses in each governorate, 
these same materials were now being sent to the IECI 
District Electoral Offices (DEO) for distribution to 
the estimated 6,200 polling centers throughout Iraq. 
Avery highlighted that not a single shipment or 
conveyance had been lost, and all materials have been 
accounted for.  He also acknowledged that the IECI is 
working closely with Coalition Forces to ensure, to 
the maximum extent possible, that provinces with 
significant Sunni Arab populations are able to vote. 
Avery agreed with PolOff that special attention was 
needed with pre, during, and post referendum 
activities to avoid repeating the voting problems that 
occurred in Ninawa during the January 30 elections. 
3. (C) Avery reported that approximately 1,350 poll 
workers had already been moved to the Anbar province. 
He said that the IECI has plans for last-minute 
training in the event they lose staff prior to 
referendum day.  Avery also stated that unlike during 
the last election, the IECI has not had big staffing 
problems for the polling centers in the high-risk 
areas.  He explained that over 466,000 Iraqis applied 
for polling staff positions, with 160,000 finally 
selected through a blind lottery.  Avery said that the 
lottery was used in order to demonstrate transparency 
in the process and to allow for wide distribution of 
Sunni Arab, Shi'a, and Kurdish applicants.  Each 
applicant was identified as a number until contacted 
on the results of the lottery. 
4. (C) As a result of recent IECI regulations, mobile 
IECI teams conducted detainee voting at Abu Gharib and 
Camp Bucca detention centers on October 13, two days 
ahead of the referendum.  Both Avery and UN/EAD Carina 
Perelli confirmed that the voting teams, along with 
domestic observers, were transported to the centers on 
October 12 in order to conduct the voting on time. 
They estimated that approximately 10,000 detainees 
would be eligible to vote.  The regulations also allow 
for voting in certain designated MOI, MOJ, and MOD 
facilities of larger than 100 voters.  Avery confirmed 
that mobile teams were also sent to several hospitals, 
but he did not have final details on the total numbers 
involved for all mobile voting. 
5. (C) Perelli stated that the IECI Board of 
Commissioners have considered options in order to 
provide voting opportunities to displaced voters due 
to recent anti-insurgent operations in western Iraq. 
She stated that the IECI would show the maximum 
flexibility possible given the current circumstances. 
Similar to during the January 30 elections, she 
confirmed that the IECI will likely grant special 
same-day registration privileges for displaced voters 
in Anbar that would not apply to other provinces. 
6. (C) On October 13 the UNAMI Constitution Support 
Unit (CSU) Head, Nicholas Haysom, told a group of 
international donors that approximately only 3.8 
million of the originally intended 5.0 million copies 
of the draft constitution were finally distributed. 
He blamed unreliable printers, lack of on-site quality 
control, and last-minute distribution problems for the 
drop in production.  In order to make up for lagging 
production of Kurdish texts, Haysom stated that the 
CSU successfully completed a contract, at the request 
of the governors of Sulaymaniyah and Irbil, 
respectively, to print 300,000 texts at each 
governorate.  He stated that the UN liaison to the KRG 
reported the texts were printed as planned, with the 
distribution already started.  Haysom also confirmed 
that 250,000 Turkmen and 125,000 Syriac copies have 
been printed and distributed. 
7. (C) Haysom revealed that UNAMI had trouble 
confirming delivery to the outermost provinces.  (This 
concern matched REO and SET reporting on the lack of 
available drafts, especially in Kirkuk.  Follow-on 
reports indicated that drafts finally showed up in 
Kirkuk and were being distributed in accordance to a 
plan carried out by a committee headed by the mayor of 
Kirkuk and charged the governor's office.)  UNAMI 
continues to receive reports that drafts are reaching 
the streets, albeit within days of the referendum. 
Haysom stated that some NGOs had conducted sweeps of 
some of the Public Distribution System (PDS) 
warehouses to ensure that any copies left behind by 
the PDS agents would be made available to the public. 
8. (C) Avery agreed on October 13 to revisit 
preparations for the Ninawa province.  In earlier 
conversations with PolOffs, Perelli expressed concerns 
about a repeat of the problems linked to the Kurdish 
peshmerga, including ballot box stuffing, the failure 
of materials to reach the polling centers, and polling 
centers that were not opened in minority-dominated 
areas.  She was specifically concerned about access by 
minority voters, including Assyrian Christians and 
Shebeks, among others.  Avery said he would confer 
with his security staff to reconfirm preparations for 
the Ninawa province.  (See refs for details on 
9. (C) Avery stated that the IECI now has the voter 
update materials that it confiscated from Kirkuk after 
the nearly 50 percent increase in voter registration 
in August.  He said that the IECI Board of 
Commissioners might not have enough time render a 
decision prior the referendum.  However, they still 
could render a decision that might have an impact on 
the final vote tally from Kirkuk. 
10. (C) Avery also told PolOff that a small group of 
attorneys were recently hired and will conduct 
preliminary reviews on referendum fraud complaints. 
This group would work in lieu of a more formal 
Judicial Board of Appeals that the UN legal advisor to 
the IECI, Jose Aranaz, had told Poloffs would be 
formed at a later date.  Aranaz reported that they 
currently have 24 complaints of fraud, a number that 
he considered to be low.  These complaints began to 
filter in when voting registration re-commenced in 
11. (C) Preparations leading up to the referendum have 
been smooth compared to last January.  For example, 
concerns relating to Anbar staffing no longer appear 
to be an issue, as polling center staff are safely 
transported and in location.  However, post will 
continue watch the situation in Anbar as circumstances 
can quickly change.  We also remain concerned about 
Ninawa.  IECI is supposed to have procedures for 
ensuring secure transport of ballots but the presence 
of militias is always a risk, including in the Shia 
heartland and Kurdish areas.  The lack of a full- 
fledged IECI anti-fraud adjudication structure could 
cause problems later. Post will continue to monitor 
efforts to establish a Judicial Board of Appeals, 
especially leading up to the December elections. 

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