WikiLeaks: Cables discuss possible electoral reform

Selected extracts from the WikiLeaks site on electoral reform, working with “ineffective” state governors and the federal government:

Foreign Office West and Southern Africa DAS-equivalent Janet Douglas told PDAS Carter July 22 that relative stability in West Africa and a UK budget crunch had meant a reduced UK presence and programming in West Africa, but agreed that Briton Edwin Dyer’s June murder in Mali by AQIM had been a “game changer.

Strongly endorsing greater U.S.-UK dialogue on Nigeria at the desk officer and technical levels, Douglas agreed that it was important to focus on the critical areas of electoral reform, constitutional succession, and corruption issues with the federal government. Assistance should be back-loaded, as the Nigeria government has the resources to begin initiatives but lacks the political will.

On the elections, Douglas agreed there is great potential for violence and that while the elections will likely be “bad,” it will be important to deal with governance and democracy as a process. She agreed that working with local civil society organization in the run-up to the elections on both conflict mitigation and transparency issues would be important.

She also supported working with individual states and governors, corrupt and ineffective as they may be, because they were providing an avenue of engagement and were more effective than the current, largely leaderless federal government.

AQIM =Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb


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