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06KIEV2208, UKRAINE: RADA CONVENES, COALITION FORMATION GETS

June 7, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV2208 2006-06-07 17:44 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
VZCZCXRO1263
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #2208/01 1581744
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 071744Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9777
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KIEV 002208 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/07/2016 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PINR SOCI SCUL MARR UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: RADA CONVENES, COALITION FORMATION GETS 
PUNTED AGAIN 

REF: A. KIEV 2190 
     B. KIEV 2170 

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires, a.i., for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 

Summary 
------- 

1. (C) Nearly 11 weeks after national parliamentary and local 
elections, Ukraine remains without a Rada majority coalition. 
 A June 7 Rada session opened and closed quickly, with 227 
Orange MPs voting to adjourn until June 14.  Deputies from 
the Party of Regions and the Communist Party stayed on the 
Rada floor to hold a "meeting" featuring a parade of speakers 
criticizing the Yushchenko administration, the USG, and the 
U.S.-Ukraine Sea Breeze military exercise in Crimea (Ref A). 
Regions MP Leonid Kozhara stressed to us that Regions did not 
oppose joint military exercises per se, just the way the 
Yushchenko government had mishandled the issue.  Tymoshenko 
Bloc (BYuT) MP Hryhoriy Nemyrya told Charge that Orange 
forces punted on coalition formation because they needed more 
time to reach agreement, a view seconded by Presidential 
chief of staff Oleh Rybachuk, who asserted that a deal could 
be announced as early as June 8.  Rybachuk added that when a 
deal was reached, an extraordinary Rada session would be 
called to seek legislative approval for Sea Breeze.  An aide 
to Roman Bezsmertny, Our Ukraine's point man in the coalition 
talks, told us that Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz 
late on June 6 had issued President Yushchenko an ultimatum, 
demanding to be made Rada Speaker in return for joining the 
Orange Team.  A senior BYuT MP, Andriy Shevchenko, separately 
told us that Moroz "smelled blood in the water" and would not 
easily back down from the ultimatum; Moroz was also being 
wooed by Regions with promises of becoming Speaker, an 
assertion that Bezsmertny earlier denied had any basis (Ref 
B).  Shevchenko predicted that Bezsmertny would emerge as the 
compromise Orange choice to become Speaker; Our Ukraine 
insider Petro Poroshenko did not have the votes to become 
Rada chief.  Shevchenko added that Regions' inflammatory 
handling of the situation in Crimea had enraged President 
Yushchenko and squashed prospects for a so-called Orange-Blue 
coalition.  End summary. 

Undignified Scene at the Rada 
----------------------------- 

2. (U) A much-anticipated Rada session quickly opened and 
closed on June 7.  Instead of making an announcement about 
the formation of governing coalition, Our Ukraine (OU) MP 
Mykola Katerynchuk, who chaired the session, called for a 
vote to adjourn the Rada until June 14.  MPs from the 
Communist Party and the Party of Regions, many screaming in 
protest, rushed the rostrum to prevent Katerynchuk from 
announcing the tally and officially closing the session.  A 
total of 227 pro-government MPs quickly cast "yes" votes and 
Katerynchuk, with hundreds of camera flashes going off and 
while being jostled by several beefy Communist and Regions 
MPs, gaveled the session to a close. 

Rump Meeting 
------------ 

3. (SBU) With all but a handful of Team Orange MPs off the 
Rada floor, Communist MP Adam Martynyuk and Regions MP Raisa 
Bohatyrova convened what Martynyuk called an informal 
"meeting" of the remaining MPs.  A parade of Communist and 
Regions MPs, led by Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko, 
took turns at the rostrum denouncing the Yushchenko 
administration of allowing the "illegal" Sea Breeze military 
exercise (Ref A) to proceed in Crimea, accusing the USG of 
"trying to turn Ukraine into another Yugoslavia," and calling 
on MPs from the Orange side to defect and attempt to form an 
"intra-parliamentary majority" with Regions and the 
Communists.  (Note:  Such a majority would be illegal, as 
only entire factions can form a parliamentary majority). 
Party of Regions MP and financier Rinat Akhmetov was on the 
Rada floor during the "meeting," frequently conferring with 
Regions' leader Viktor Yanukovych. 

4. (SBU) Regions MP Leonid Kozhara stressed to us that 
Regions did not object to cooperation with NATO and joint 
military exercises per se, but asserted that the Yushchenko 
government had in this case failed to get the necessary 
parliamentary approval for the drill.  (Note:  Regions and 
the Communists are collecting MP signatures to hold an 
extraordinary Rada session to discuss the situation in 
Crimea.) 

Why Team Orange Punted: The Smiley-Face Version... 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 

KIEV 00002208  002 OF 002 

5. (SBU) Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) MP Hryhoriy Nemyrya told 
Charge that the Orange forces punted because they needed more 
time to finish the coalition agreement.  According to him, 
there had been significant progress during marathon talks 
during the night of June 6.  The three sides had agreed on 
policies, tasks for the new Cabinet of Ministers during the 
coming months, and coalition rules; there was, however, no 
agreement on who should serve as Rada Speaker.  The
 sides 
were nearing agreement on Socialist Party (SP) chief 
Oleksandr Moroz, but the deal was not yet sealed, according 
to Nemyrya. 

6. (C) This "we're almost there" view was seconded by 
Presidential chief of staff Oleh Rybachuk, who told Charge on 
the afternoon of June 6 that OU's point man in the coalition 
talks, Roman Bezsmertny, needed "one more day" to shore up OU 
support for Moroz as Speaker and wrap up the negotiations. 
Rybachuk, who said he would go to Crimea on June 8, asserted 
that a deal could be announced as early as June 8; an 
extraordinary Rada session would be called (he did not say 
when) and legislative approval for Sea Breeze would be sought. 

...The Bezsmertny Camp Version... 
--------------------------------- 

7. (SBU) Roman Bezsmertny's longtime aide, Svitlana Gumenyuk, 
gave us a different version of why Team Orange punted.  She 
related that at the June 6 talks Moroz had given Yushchenko 
an ultimatum:  make me Rada Speaker or there will be no new 
Orange coalition.  Gumenyuk told us that Yushchenko had 
pushed back, noting that OU came in second (among the Orange 
forces) in the March elections, and rightfully deserved the 
Speaker's post.  Gumenyuk claimed that Regions was now 
engaged in a proverbial full-court press to get Moroz to 
defect and join in a Regions/Communists/SP alliance.  She 
added that there was now consensus within OU that Bezsmertny, 
and not Petro Poroshenko, should be the next Rada Speaker. 
(Note: In a June 5 meeting reported Ref B, Bezsmertny told us 
that Regions had not offered the Speakership to Moroz.) 

...And the "This Is Embarrassing" View 
-------------------------------------- 

8. (C) BYuT MP and former journalist Andriy Shevchenko, 
number five on the BYuT list, described today's Rada session 
as an "embarrassment" for Team Orange.  The Ukrainian people, 
he told us, were losing patience with the prolonged bickering 
and haggling between BYuT, OU and the SPU.  Echoing what 
Gumenyuk told us, Shevchenko claimed that Moroz "had smelled 
the blood in the water" during the June 6 late-night talks; 
he was not going to give in easily, and was "listening" to 
Regions.  The "action," he said, was now between OU and 
Moroz; BYuT was "on the sideline" watching its partners "slug 
it out."  Shevchenko predicted that Moroz would back down and 
Bezsmertny would emerge as the Team Orange choice to be Rada 
Speaker; OU insider Petro Poroshenko, whom Shevchenko said he 
respected and worked well with at Fifth Channel, "did not 
have the votes" to become Speaker. 

9. (C) Citing unspecified "friends within OU," Shevchenko 
added that the Party of Regions had "committed suicide" by 
stoking anti-NATO protests in Crimea.  Shevchenko related 
that President Yushchenko had been "outraged," in particular, 
by Yanukovych's low-key reaction to the Sea Breeze protests; 
instead of helping calm things down, Shevchenko said, 
Yanukovych had blasted Yushchenko "for being incompetent." 
Any prospect of an Orange-Blue coalition was now dead, 
Shevchenko emphasized. 

Comment: Missing Man 
-------------------- 

10. (C) What happens next is unclear.  If Regions and the 
Communists get 150 MP signatures, they can ask the Rada's 
five-member Provisional Presidium to hold an extraordinary 
Rada session.  How that presidium makes a decision is hazy, 
with some legal analysts saying that all five members have to 
agree 1) to hold the special session and 2) when to hold it; 
with three Orange members and two Blue, such unity seems 
unlikely.  Amidst the smoke and noise, at least one thing is 
clear:  Yushchenko is not fully engaged; he remains on a 
visit to the Netherlands.  In the meantime, the maneuvering 
and negotiations will continue. 
Gwaltney

Wikileaks

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