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07KYIV784, UKRAINE: CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS OVER RADA DISMISSAL

April 3, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV784 2007-04-03 13:53 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO3138
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #0784/01 0931353
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031353Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1796
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KYIV 000784 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/03/2017 
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PREL PHUM PINR UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS OVER RADA DISMISSAL 
DECREE: YUSHCHENKO AND YANUKOVYCH VIEWS 
 
REF: A. KYIV 746 
     B. EMBASSY KYIV-STATE 4/2 AND 4/3 EMAILS (VARIOUS) 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4 (b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  Justifying his April 2 decree dismissing the 
Rada (parliament) and calling pre-term elections for May 27, 
President Yushchenko told G-7 ambassadors April 3 that new 
elections were a democratic instrument to resolve a political 
crisis that stemmed from a parliamentary crisis.  The decree 
to hold new elections had been the only option left to him; 
he warned that the democratic gains made the past two years 
were at risk.  Yushchenko refused to consider seeking a 
Constitutional Court judgment on the decree.  He had warned 
heads of military and intelligence agencies against the use 
of force.  Yushchenko said he would soon telephone European 
and North American heads of state to enlist G-7 countries' 
support.  In an earlier address before coalition members and 
the Cabinet at the Rada, PM Yanukovych appealed to Yushchenko 
to avert a disaster by agreeing to negotiate on an outcome 
satisfactory to all sides but also vowed a firm response if 
Yushchenko did not.  Yanukovych also insisted the Rada would 
continue operating until the Constitutional Court had ruled 
on Yushchenko's decree. 
 
2. (C) Comment: Yushchenko was rigid and inflexible in his 
insistence on pre-term elections and ruling out further 
negotiations, though his deputy Presidential Secretariat head 
Oleksandr Chaliy signaled on the way out that three scenarios 
remained in play: elections, a constitutional court ruling, 
and a negotiated resolution to the crisis.  Convincing 
Yushchenko to reengage may well be difficult, since 
Yushchenko appears now to feel that his efforts at working 
with Yanukovych and Moroz the past eight months have been 
spurned, or worse, taken advantage of.  On the other hand, 
elections will reopen wounds now starting to heal -- status 
of Russian language and NATO -- and possibly exacerbate 
tendencies toward disunity rather than national unity.  For 
its part, the governing coalition did not help matters by 
voting late April 2 to reseat the Kivalov-led Central 
Electoral Commission which declared Yanukovych President in 
November 2004 based on the falsified election results which 
sparked the Orange Revolution.  End summary and comment. 
 
Why the decree was necessary: Yushchenko's Rationale 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
3. (C) The April 3 edition of the Presidential Bulletin of 
Ukraine officially promulgated President Yushchenko's April 2 
decree dissolving the Rada and setting new elections for May 
27.  In an April 3 meeting with G-7 ambassadors (i.e., 
without Russian Ambassador Chernomyrdin) and the EU mission, 
Yushchenko said that his decree to hold new elections had 
been the only option left to him to resolve the political 
crisis which had arisen from a parliamentary crisis.  In his 
view, the latter crisis had arisen because movements of 
individual Rada MPs from the opposition to the ruling 
coalition meant the Rada's composition no longer reflected 
the political results of the March 2006 elections, which 
produced an approximately equal balance between the ruling 
coalition and the opposition that resulted from the March 
parliamentary election (240-210).  Article 83 of the 
constitution required the coalition to be made up of 
factions, and not individuals.  Now that the coalition had 
lured over additional deputies, using bribes and blackmail, 
it had the real possibility of assembling 300 votes, allowing 
it to enact legislation that would be veto-proof. 
 
4. (C) Yanukovych and the Cabinet of Ministers were engaged 
in a usurpation of presidential powers that could not be 
allowed to continue, Yushchenko argued and later claiming 
that all the democratic gains made in the past two years were 
at risk.  The new Cabinet of Ministers (CabMin) law had been 
especially problematic, with several provisions that clearly 
violated the constitution, including procedures on naming the 
PM, FM, and Defense Minister that encroached on Presidential 
prerogatives.  Yushchenko had submitted 18 requests to the 
Constitutional Court to review these and other provisions. 
 
5. (C) Acknowledging concerns about the precedent of a Rada 
dismissal, Yushchenko insisted that new elections would lead 
to a national dialogue and that the election results would 
bring about a national plan on the way forward that had not 
occurred in 2006.  Unfortunately, the ruling coalition had 
discarded the "Universal" agreement that could have formed 
the basis of a unity cabinet.  The agreement had enshrined 
the importance of judicial reform, incorporated agreements on 
language and religion, and established a common approach to 
European and Euro-Atlantic integration and a policy on the 
Single Economic Space.  New elections would be the basis for 
a renewed consideration of the Universal agreement and lead 
 
KYIV 00
000784  002 OF 003 
 
 
to healing the divisions between eastern and western Ukraine. 
 
6. (SBU) Yushchenko said he had called in the Ministers of 
Interior and Defense earlier in the day to emphasize that no 
forces should be moved into the area around Kyiv.  (Note: 
The Presidential website reported that Yushchenko met with 
the heads of all national law enforcement and intelligence 
bodies to caution them that the current situation "was a 
political conflict to be resolved by political means" and 
enjoined them against any use of force.)  Yushchenko said 
that, later April 3, he would make a public appeal to all 
sides at the Maidan, European Square, or other venues for 
past rallies to minimize the possibility of violence. 
 
7. (C) Yushchenko said he had discussed his concerns April 2 
with Rada Speaker Oleksandr Moroz during mandatory 
pre-dismissal consultations.  He had asked Moroz to implement 
four measures: to stabilize the situation in the Rada, 
including through amendments to Rada Rules; to launch his 
requested Constitutional Commission that could rebalance the 
power relationships in government; to enact the Universal as 
a law; and to amend the CabMin law to eliminate its 
unconstitutional features.  Instead, Moroz had convened a 
special session of the Verkhovna Rada late April 2 and 
initiated annullment of the December 2004 changes to the 
Central Electoral Commission.  The step had driven home to 
Yushchenko that he could not reach a compromise with Moroz, 
closing the possibility of negotiating for several more days. 
 
8. (C) Ambassador asked Yushchenko about the differing 
opinions of legal experts on the constitutionality of the 
decree and asked if he would be willing to abide by a 
Constitutional Court ruling on the decree.  Yushchenko ducked 
the question, noting that the Constitutional Court had been 
silent in its eight months of operation, after being left 
inquorate for 18 months by Regions and Socialists' refusal to 
seat nominated judges.  When the Italian Ambassador pushed 
the point, Yushchenko said a political decision needed to be 
reached first on his decree, and then the Constitutional 
Court could make a ruling.  He insisted, however, that 
elections must be held.  He asked the ambassadors to relay 
his arguments to their capitals and said he would soon 
telephone their heads of state to enlist G-7 countries' 
support.  (Note: Yushchenko mentioned he had already spoken 
with Russian President Putin April 2 when he had cancelled 
his planned April 3 visit to Moscow.) 
 
Walk this back, Mr. President - Yanukovych's position 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
9. (U) The Rada's coalition majority convened at 10:30 a.m., 
with the entire Cabinet, led by PM Yanukovych, present to 
debate the decree.  Coalition faction leaders, from the Party 
of Region (POR), Socialists (SPU), and Communists (CPU) made 
statements reiterating coalition positions from the previous 
evening  (ref B). 
 
10. (U) Yanukovych charged that what he called an "infamous" 
decree was aimed at usurpation of power and dissolution of a 
legitimate parliament.  Describing the decree as an attempt 
against the constitutional order, Yanukovych said that it was 
designed to create either artificial conditions leading to 
incessant elections or a return to the old constitution and 
restoration of autocratic presidential rule.  Yanukovych 
appealed to Yushchenko to avert a disaster by agreeing to 
negotiate on an outcome satisfactory to all sides.  Saying 
"Mr. President, make this step toward Ukraine," Yanukovych 
warned Yushchenko that he would ultimately bear the 
responsibility for his refusal to engage in constructive 
dialogue with a legitimate government. 
 
11. (U) Yanukovych assured the Ukrainian public that neither 
the President nor the adventurists who had convinced him to 
issue the decree would succeed in disrupting the Cabinet's 
work, because the Cabinet of Ministers had a mandate from the 
voters and the ruling coalition.  Ukraine did not need such 
an upheaval that would lead living standards to decline if 
not resolved soon, he claimed.  The Rada should continue to 
work as usual until the Constitutional Court had ruled on the 
presidential decree.  The Executive Branch of government 
would also continue to carry out its duties, despite what he 
called the opposition's designs to paralyze executive branch 
operations.  Irresponsible politicians would not succeed in 
plunging Ukraine into crisis and confrontation.  Any change 
should be implemented in accordance with the constitution. 
No one would disrupt reforms aimed at Ukraine's European 
integration, and Ukraine would emerge from the current 
situation even stronger.  Yanukovych called on all Ukrainians 
to unite to protect the Constitution, freedom, democracy, and 
the rule of law. 
 
 
KYIV 00000784  003 OF 003 
 
 
12. (U) Coalition Rada deputies' speeches after Yanukovych 
stuck to his general themes.  A common charge was that the 
opposition had engineered this crisis in an attempt to derail 
economic progress achieved under Yanukovych and his cabinet. 
Rada Human Rights Ombudsman Nina Karpachova detailed the 
reasons that she had concluded the presidential decree was 
unconstitutional and appealed for a non-violent resolution to 
the crisis.  Socialist Party deputy Serhiy Kuzmenko said the 
Verkhovna Rada should institute impeachment proceedings 
against Yushchenko.  Communist Party faction head Petro 
Symonenko railed that the opposition had received its orders 
from the U.S. to press for Rada dissolution (note: a 
reference to opposition leader Yuliya Tymoshenko's recent 
visit to Washington; embarrassed Socialist Chair of the 
International Relations Committee Shybko later apologized to 
us for Symonenko's outburst) and that Ukrainians should not 
be surprised if foreign troops were to land in Ukraine to 
finish developments started by the Orange Revolution. 
 
13. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

Wikileaks

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