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Viewing cable 06BOGOTA1583, WEEKLY ELECTION ROUNDUP

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BOGOTA1583 2006-02-21 14:02 2011-02-27 13:01 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bogota
Appears in these articles:
http://www.elespectador.com/wikileaks
VZCZCXYZ0018
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #1583/01 0521450
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 211450Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2425
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 0424
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 6570
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 1757
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ FEB LIMA 3275
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 2793
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 8783
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 3888
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 1939
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3447
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 001583 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

SOUTHCOM FOR POLAD 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/14/2016 
TAGS: PGOV KJUS CO
SUBJECT: WEEKLY ELECTION ROUNDUP 


Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Milton K. Drucker; 
Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 

1.  (U) Election Updates for February 13-17. 

2.  (C) Prominent Political Consultants, Part I - The 
Importance of a Congressional Majority: Three prominent 
political consultants told us on February 15 that a 
Congressional majority for Uribe's second term may be less 
vital than many believe.  Colombia traditionally affords new 
presidents a two-year honeymoon in which much can be achieved 
with good arguments (and pork, when necessary).  It is only 
afterwards that electoral calculations come into play, making 
progress on a president's agenda more difficult.  A 
re-elected President may not enjoy quite such a honeymoon, 
but it is likely that Uribe will continue to hold many cards 
no matter who is elected to Congress (septel). 

3.  (C) Prominent Political Consultants, Part II - the Future 
of the Opposition: The same political consultants said that 
re-election is hindering the trajectory of Colombia's younger 
politicians.  The traditional figures, including former 
presidents, have a new lease on their political lives as a 
result of the election ruling. For example, former President 
Cesar Gaviria is likely to be the Liberal nominee in 2010. 
Gaviria doesn't deny this, but says it is too soon to say 
what he will do.  Gaviria told us he offered the top spot on 
their Senate list to former Foreign Minister Maria Emma Mejia 
more than a year ago, but she turned it down.  After Mejia's 
recent falling out with the Polo DemocraticoAlternativo
(Polo), Gaviria believes she regrets her decision not to 
acceptGaviria's offer.  Re-election may make for some 
interesting opposition bedfellows, however.  Senator German 
Vargas Lleras, an Uribe supporter who is generally on the 
outs with the President, may rejoin the Liberal Party after 
the elections, the consultants predicted. (Embassy comment: 
we view this as plausible.) 

4.  (C) Lottery Millionaire Who Gave Funds to Uribe Arrested: 
President Uribe publicly admitted his 2002 campaign accepted 
100 million pesos (about USD 40,000) from a commercial entity 
controlled by Enilce Lopez, aka "La Gata," who was arrested 
by the Fiscalia the week of February 13 on suspicion of money 
laundering activity.  Multi-millionaire Lopez is a 
controversial figure on the Atlantic coast, where she 
controls, inter alia, numerous lottery concessions.  While 
press reports have noted that La Gata was not under formal 
criminal investigation in 2002, she has been publicly linked 
to illegal organizations (including the late drug trafficker 
Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha, aka "El Mexicano") since prior to
2002.  Lopez's son, Hector Lopez, continues to be a House 
candidate on the Conservative Party ticket in Bolivar 
Department.  Party President Carlos Holguin has twice asked 
local officials to consider removing him from the 
Conservative list.  Party officials in Bolivar have not made 
a final decision.  (The political advisor to Prosecutor 
General Iguaran tells us the case against La Gata is strong 
and that she will not likely get out on bail.) 

5.  (U) Televised Presidential Debates in the Works: The 
National Electoral Council (CNE) announced that there will be 
three televised, 60-minute presidential debates starting some 
time after April 6.  Participation will be open to all 
candidates.  The debates will be broadcast on all national TV 
and radio stations. 

6.  (C) Name Recognition: The parties led by AntanasMockus
and Enrique Penalosa (both former mayors of Bogota) and 
Senator Carlos Moreno de Caro -- all of whom have both strong 
name and face recognition among voters -- have each opted for 
a logo including some form of each leader's photo.  Early in 
the week, the National Electoral Council rejected the use of 
these proposed personalized logos on the Congressional 
ballot.  In a course change, however, the CNE then decided to 
permit only Mockus' party to use his photo, arguing that he 
was not running for Congress and therefore would not get an 
unfair advantage by having his face on a congressional ballot 
paper.  Penalosa and Moreno are appealing the CNE rulings in 
their cases; decisions are expected before February 25.  CNE 
rulings to date have lacked consistency and it is not clear 
how it will rule on these appeals. 

7.  (U) Presidential Candidates and the FTA:  President 
Uribe, in the U.S. this week to finalize Free Trade Agreement 
negotiations between Colombia and the United States, may be 
the only presidential candidate who supports the FTA. 
Liberal candidates Horacio Serpa and Rafael Pardo have
publicly come out against the FTA in recent weeks, as have 
Polo Democratico Alternativo hopefuls Antonio Navarro and 
Carlos Gaviria (Gaviria called it "harmful").  Antanas
Mockus, running on his eponymous ticket, is not against the 
FTA, but is concerned that Colombia is not broadening its 
trade relationships with other countries and Mercosur. 
DRUCKER 

=======================CABLE ENDS============================