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06KIEV1314, UKRAINE: LOOKING TOWARD A RENEWED ORANGE COALITION

April 3, 2006

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06KIEV1314 2006-04-03 17:00 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
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 KIEV 001314 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/03/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: LOOKING TOWARD A RENEWED ORANGE COALITION 
AMID CALLS FOR A RECOUNT 

REF: A. KIEV 1258 

     B. KIEV 1261 

Classified By: Political Counselor Aubrey Carlson, reason 1.4 (b,d) 

1. (C) Summary:  Amid increasing signs that Ukraine might see 
a renewed Orange "Maidan" coalition in the wake of March 26 
elections, there have been calls by some for a recount of the 
election results.  Most of the pressure comes from a handful 
of parties that failed to reach the three-percent threshold 
for representation in the parliament (Verkhovna Rada), even 
though evidence supporting claims of miscounts mostly relates 
to provincial and local elections.  However, Our Ukraine 
insider Petro Poroshenko has also endorsed the recount 
concept, perhaps as a means to delay or prevent the return of 
archrival Yuliya Tymoshenko to the PM's chair.  Two 
non-binding resolutions, one calling for partial vote counts 
at PSCs where falsification has been alleged, and a second 
calling for a nation-wide recount, will be considered by the 
lame duck Rada April 4; Yushchenko has signaled his intent to 
address the Rada prior to consideration of the measures.  The 
Rada will also swear in Constitutional Court judges nominated 
in November 2005 by the judiciary and Yushchenko, at long 
last giving the Court a quorum again.  The Central Election 
Commission (CEC) expects to receive the remaining original 
protocols of polling station vote counts April 3; CEC Chair 
Davydovych suggested March 31 that official final results 
should be announced by April 10.  Rada contacts predicted the 
first sitting of the new Rada would occur in early May, at 
which time efforts to elect a new Speaker and divide up 
committee chairs and assignments would begin, and the clock 
on the 30-day period to form a parliamentary majority would 
start.  End summary. 

No April Fools joke: a Maidan reunion in the works 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 

2. (U) In an April 1 radio address to the nation, President 
Yushchenko said that the next government coalition based on a 
Rada majority should be formed by the political forces which 
defended democracy on the Maidan during the Orange 
Revolution.  The next steps, said Yushchenko, would be to 
sign an agreement on the coalition's policy objectives, and 
then a negotiated distribution of governmental posts. 
Yushchenko also called for all parties/blocs elected to the 
Rada to sign a "stability pact," in which the sides would 
agree on principles related to "the consolidation of the 
Ukrainian nation." 

3, (C) Note:  The Maidan parties that made it past the 
three-percent threshold are the Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT), Our 
Ukraine, and the Socialist Party (SPU).  The three are 
projected to have 243 of 450 seats in the new Rada (129, 81, 
33 seats, respectively).  Tymoshenko's desire to return as PM 
is well-known; Moroz and the SPU have laid down a public 
claim for their share of all positions.  Some of the Our 
Ukraine insiders forced from office in the September 2005 
government reshuffle but still close to Yushchenko, 
particularly ex-National Security and Defense Council 
Secretary Petro Poroshenko, however, have been 

SIPDIS 
resisting/delaying a renewed alliance with Tymoshenko. 

What next?  Lame duck Rada consideration of recount 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 

4. (SBU) The next step in the post-election dance will come 
April 4, when the old Rada convenes one last time, with 
President Yushchenko expected to make an address.  Two 
non-binding resolutions (postanova) -- not laws (zakon) -- 
calling for a recount are expected to be added to the docket. 
 The first, proposed by Regions MP Komar, would authorize 
repeat vote counts at individual polling stations only.  The 
second, proposed by two MPs from Rada Speaker Lytvyn's 
faction, which failed to make it into the Rada, plus Our 
Ukraine MP Karmazin, who ran his own splinter bloc (and 
lost), would require a nationwide vote count and prohibit the 
CEC from announcing final results until then.  Neither 
resolution includes budgetary provisions or administrative 
guidelines for conducting a recount.  (On a positive note, 
the limping Rada will also swear in Constitutional Court 
judges nominated by the judiciary and President Yushchenko in 
November 2005, finally giving the Court a quorum again.  The 
Rada still must nominate its own selections to the court.) 

5. (SBU) Calls for a recount in the aftermath of a 
sporadically messy vote count, particularly for races at the 
local level, have been led by a handful of the 40 parties 
that failed to make it over the three-percent threshold into 
the national Rada:  Natalya Vitrenko's People's Opposition 
bloc (2.93%), Speaker Lytvyn's bloc (2.43%), 
Kostenko-Plyushch's bloc (1.87%), Viche (1.71%), Pora-Reforms 
and Order (Pora-PRP - 1.47%), NeTak (1.01%), and the National 
Democratic Party (NDP - 0.49%).  Citing a list of alleged 
falsifications and inaccuracies in preparation of the voting 
protocols, the minor parties have jointly called for a 
re-count.  Some of the successful parties have also 
complained about incidents of alleged fraud, and in the March 
31 edition "Svoboda Slova" ("Freedom of Speech," a popular TV 
show), Regions, the Socialists, and Our Ukraine's Petro 
Poroshenko said they would support recount resolutions to be 
considered by the Rada April 4. 

6. (SBU) On the Svoboda Slova program, BYuT opposed the 
recount option, contending that the Verkhovna Rada vote was 
largely clean and accurate, with falsifications significantly 
affecting only local races, and that any action should be 
driven by court orders based on evidence of fraud committed. 
These positions were shared by CEC Chair Davydovych. 
Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU) chair Ihor Popov agreed 
in an April 3 press conference.  Popov noted numerous 
violations during the vote count but said that they primarily 
affected local races, did not amount to documented proof of 
large-scale falsification, and should not invalidate the 
outcome of the election.  Contributing factors to the messy 
vote count included complex and contradictory provisions in 
the two election laws (governing Rada and local elections), 
along with fatigue and inexperience among PSC members.  Popov 
termed the Rada's recount resolutions political acts rather 
than necessary steps, and predicted the CEC would ignore any 
resolution passed. 

7. (C) Comment:  Petro Poroshenko, in supporting a recount, 
would be seeking to at least slow down the return of 
archrival Tymoshenko to the PM's chair.  In addition to his 
public comments on "Svoboda Slova" March 31, he admitted as 
much in a recent meeting with the UK embassy, according to UK 
DCM Martin Harris (please protect).  Yushchenko's publicly 
expressed sentiments on the issue also suggest he is not in a 
hurry to put the issue to rest and move forward.  In his 
April 1 radio address, he said that while the March 26 
election was conducted without massive fraud, at times local 
officials tried to alter the results in favor of some forces. 
 Ukrainska Pravda reported that Yushchenko subsequently 
requested CEC Chair Davydovych to give careful consideration 
to the minor parties' request for a recount. 

Next steps: Final announcement, Rada convening... 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 

8. (SBU) Even if the Rada passes a non-binding resolution, 
the next formal step is for the CEC to declare the final Rada 
election results.  While the CEC's website posted 100 percent 
of the results from the roughly 34,000 PSCs by March 30, 
those were based on electronic submissions from the 225 
District Election Commissions (DECs), what CEC Chair 
Davydovych called an "official-informal parallel vote count" 
during "Svoboda Slova" March 31.  The final results must be 
based on the original paper protocols with PSC commissioner 
signatures and stamps, the last of which arrived at the CEC 
April 3.  Davydovych suggested on "Svoboda Slova" that he 
would announce the result of the count of the hardcopy vote 
protocols by April 10. 

9. (SBU) Article 82 of the Constitution and Rada procedural 
rules passed March 16 mandate holding the first session of 
the new Rada within thirty days of the announcement of 
official results.  Two Rada sources told us April 3 that they 
expected the new Rada to convene in early May. 

10. (SBU) Rada Speaker Lytvyn's faction did not make it into 
the new Rada.  Lytvyn's last act will be to make an 
"ex-speaker" report to the new Rada on the status of 
legislation.  At the first session of the new Rada, a 
provisional presidium representing the five factions making 
it over the threshold (Regions, BYuT, Our Ukraine, SPU, 
Communists) will meet to agree on how to handle the first 
session, which will be opened by the eldest MP regardless of 
party, as long as there is a quorum of 300 MPs.  (Note:  We 
have heard rumors that Regions, with its 186 MPs, is 
considering boycotting the new Rada if it is not included in 
a majority coalition, and thus potentially bringing about new 
elections if the Rada is unable to perform is 
constitutionally-required tasks.) 

11. (SBU) Among the tasks in the opening session are: 
election of a Speaker and two deputy speakers, along with 
Committee chairs and decisions on committee assignments.  The 
elimination of single-mandate independents and reduction of 
parties in the Rada to just five in 2006 could simplify 
matters; in 2002, it took two months for Lytvyn to be elected 
Speaker with the bare minimum 226-vote majority.  A 
parliamentary majority must be formed within a month of the 
convening of the new parliament, or else risk presidential 
dismissal. 

...and lawsuits 
--------------- 

12. (SBU) CVU's Popov noted in his April 3 press conference 
that it would be reasonable to expect lawsuits in the wake of 
the CEC's declaration of the Rada election results from 
parties failing to make it into the Rada.  Given the lack of 
documented proof of falsifications, however, Popov predicted 
the courts would dismiss such lawsuits regarding the Rada 
results. 

13. (SBU) The situation is different for local races, a 
number of which, particularly for mayor, are likely to be 
rerun in the coming weeks/months.  The race for Simferopol 
mayor was already invalidated by the Crimean Territorial 
Election Commission (TEC) on election day (ref A), followed 
soon thereafter by Zhytomyr; another eight mayoral elections 
have been appealed in courts, which could delay final 
resolution for months.  CVU's Popov noted an interesting 
trend:  new faces won nearly two-thirds of all towns in 
Ukraine, including Kiev (ref B).  Because of the "first past 
the post" system, many dark horse third candidates won after 
the top two candidates aggressively attacked each other. 

14. (U) Visit Embassy Kiev's classified website at: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Herbst

Wikileaks

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