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07KYIV790, UKRAINE: YUSHCHENKO’S CALL FOR MAY 27 PRE-TERM

April 4, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV790 2007-04-04 16:32 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

null
Deborah J Ash  04/05/2007 08:45:21 AM  From  DB/Inbox:  Deborah J Ash

Cable 
Text:                                                                      
                                                                           
      
C O N F I D E N T I A L        KYIV 00790

SIPDIS
CXKIEV:
    ACTION: POL
    INFO:   AID CONS ECON CUST DTRO DAO PAS DCM AMB RAO

DISSEMINATION: POL
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: AMB:WTAYLOR
DRAFTED: POL:MEWOOD,POL: ISMO
CLEARED: DCM: SGWALTNEY, POL: GKENT

VZCZCKVI945
PP RUEHC RUCNCIS RUEHZG
DE RUEHKV #0790/01 0941632
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 041632Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1808
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KYIV 000790 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/15/2014 
TAGS: PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: YUSHCHENKO'S CALL FOR MAY 27 PRE-TERM 
ELECTIONS SETS OFF BUREAUCRATIC JOSTLING 
 
REF: KYIV 784 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(b,d). 
 
1. (SBU)  Summary:  On April 2, after several days of tense 
negotiations and peaceful street demonstrations, President 
Yushchenko announced his intention to dissolve the Parliament 
(Verkhovna Rada) and set May 27 as the date for new 
elections; his decree was officially promulgated April 3.  On 
April 3, Yushchenko met with the Central Election Commission 
(CEC) Chair Davydovych to outline the process for the 
pre-term elections, which the commission head promised could 
be accomplished in the time frame set by the president at the 
cost of 340 million hryvnia ($68 million).  The majority 
coalition has resisted Yushchenko's efforts, passing 
resolutions late April 2 after Yushchenko's speech that there 
was no legal basis for the president's decision and banning 
the government or national bank from financing elections; the 
Cabinet confirmed the Rada ban on financing with its own 
resolution April 3.  A group of MPs subsequently submitted a 
petition to the Constitutional Court to determine the 
Presidential decree's constitutionality; the President also 
appealed the Cabinet's resolution to the Constitutional 
Court.  The Rada majority also attempted late April 2 to 
dismiss the current CEC and restore the previous election 
committee headed by Regions MP Serhiy Kivalov, who had been 
dismissed December 8, 2004 for his role in attempting to 
falsify the 2004 Presidential elections and declare 
Yanukovych rather than Yushchenko President.  The Pechersk 
district court threw out the Rada's April 2 CEC-related 
resolutions late April 3, leading Kivalov to vow action to 
unseat the judges.  Mid-day April 4, 20 coalition MPs arrived 
at the CEC Chair's office, amidst conflicting reports 
regarding their purpose; one MP told reporters that they 
planned to remain until May 27 to prevent the CEC from 
implementing the decree's call for new elections. 
 
2.  (C)  Comment:  Yushchenko's decision to issue a decree 
dismissing the Rada and calling new elections for May 27 is 
considered legally binding until/unless it is overturned by 
Constitutional Court review.  Kyiv was awash in rumors April 
4 that Constitutional Court Chair Dombrovsky had resigned 
under political pressure (according to PM Yanukovych and 
Speaker Moroz) or hospitalized (various MPs and Transport 
Minister Rudkovsky), but Constitutional Court Judge Shyskin 
confirmed to us privately late April 4 that Dombrovsky had 
chaired the Court's morning and afternoon sessions and that 
there had been no talk about resignation.  The ruling 
majority continues to keep its options open as of April 4, 
condemning the decree, appealing it, denying funding for 
elections, pressuring the CEC, and calling on Yushchenko to 
negotiate, but also sending signals of confidence that it 
would prevail in new elections if it came to a vote. 
Demonstrators for both sides have remained peaceful 
throughout this crisis.  However, the continued efforts by 
the Coalition to reinstall the thoroughly discredited Kivalov 
are troubling.  We will continue to encourage both sides 
reach a peaceful and workable solution within the framework 
of Ukrainian law.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
Yushchenko: Prepare for elections May 27 
---------------------------------------- 
 
3.  (SBU)  President Yushchenko announced on national 
television late on April 2 the dissolution of the Rada and 
holding of pre-term elections on May 27; the official decree 
was promulgated in the Presidential Bulletin April 3, making 
it legal until/unless the Constitutional Court were to 
overturn it.  Yushchenko's announcement came after several 
days of tense negotiations and peaceful demonstrations 
involving tens of thousands of protesters supporting both the 
ruling government coalition (Party of Regions, Socialists, 
and Communists) and the opposition (Our Ukraine, Yulia 
Tymoshenko Bloc, Yuri Lutsenko's People's Self Defense Civic 
movement) barely 200 meters from each other in downtown Kyiv. 
 Yushchenko told the nation that he was dissolving the Rada 
because its majority had been formed against the will of the 
people expressed in the March 2006 elections, the Cabinet 
Ministers was working against the constitution, and that the 
National Unity Coalition was actually acting against the 
interest of national unity. 
 
4.  (SBU)  On April 3, Yushchenko met with the head of the 
Central Election Commission (CEC), Yaroslav Davydovych, to 
discuss implementation of the elections.  Davydovych stated 
that the elections could be conducted by the May 27 date set 
by the president. Davydovych a
nnounced later that the head of 
the National Defense and Security Council, Vitaliy Haiduk, 
would be in charge of financing the election and estimated it 
would cost 340 million hryvnia ($68 million) to finance the 
elections.  Yushchenko told reporters that the he was taking 
steps to ensure that the elections will be conducted in a 
democratic and legal manner without disruption to the 
country. 
Coalition Fights Back - Rada and Cabinet Reaction 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
5.  (SBU)  The Rada convened an extraordinary session of the 
Rada majority plus the entire cabinet and PM Yanukovych on 
April 2, less than an hour before Yushchenko addressed the 
nation, subsequently adopted a series of resolutions 
challenging Yushchenko's decision.  Rada Speaker Moroz opened 
the session by relaying what Yushchenko had explained in 
consultations earlier in the day as his rationale (reftel) 
but stating there was no legal basis.  The Rada adopted 
resolutions calling the president's decree unconstitutional 
and a destabilizing and dangerous precedent.  The Rada also 
issued a decree prohibiting the Cabinet of Ministers from 
allocating state funds for the pre-term elections.  On April 
3, the Rada majority submitted a petition to the 
Constitutional Court asking it to declare the President's 
decree unconstitutional and issued a decree prohibiting the 
National Bank from funding activities related to the 
President's decree until the Constitutional Court determines 
the decree's constitutionality.  The Cabinet, meeting on 
April 3, confirmed the Rada resolution, passing its own 
resolution forbidding funding of new elections.  (Note: 
President Yushchenko has appealed the Cabinet's resolution to 
the Constitutional Court). 
 
Which Central Election Committee? 
--------------------------------- 
 
6.  (SBU)  The Rada also passed resolutions seeking to 
overturn two resolutions from December 8, 2004 relating to 
the composition Central Election Commission, essentially 
aiming to reseat the CEC chaired by Serhiy Kivalov which in 
November 2004 declared Yanukovych the winner of the falsified 
second round presidential election.  Kivalov initially told 
the press that he could conduct the first CEC meeting under 
his leadership immediately, but later said he had 20 days to 
decide whether to remain an MP. 
 
7.  (C)  Initial response from legal experts and opposition 
politicians rejected the legality of the Rada's move. Ex-CEC 
member and Our Ukraine MP Ruslan Knyazevych told reporters 
that the April 2 Rada resolution was unconstitutional because 
the Rada could only appoint and dismiss CEC members at the 
president's request; there had been none.  He added that the 
current CEC was legitimate, that it has 156 million hryvnia 
($31.2 million) available, and could take funds from local 
budgets to meet the 340 million hryvnia budget estimate. 
Yushchenko told G-7 ambassadors April 3 that the attempt to 
reinstall Kivalov demonstrated compromise with the Rada was 
impossible and justified his dismissal decree (reftel). 
 
8.  (SBU)  On April 3, the CEC press service stated that the 
Pechersk District Court threw out the April 2 Rada 
resolutions based on the appeal of three CEC members who 
contended that the resolutions violated the Law on the 
Central Election Committee.  Kivalov, who claimed to 
reporters that he had been illegally dismissed as the CEC 
head in 2004, said that, as a member of the Higher Council of 
Justice (a governmental body for judicial oversight; Kivalov 
sits on it as Head of the Rada's Judicial Committee), he 
intended to demand the dismissal of the Pechersk court judges 
for their decision. 
 
9. (C) During an April 4 meeting with the dip corps, PM 
Yanukovych complained that the CEC contained no Regions' 
representatives, and that the CEC needed balancing. (Note: we 
will check on whether any CEC members/nominees are 
party-based; many, such as current Chair Davydovych, are 
non-partisan, long-time civil servants.) 
 
An MP Courtesy Call on the CEC? 
------------------------------- 
 
10.  (SBU)  The CEC press service reported mid-day that 20 
Coalition MPs had entered CEC Chair Davydovych's office and 
shut the door (note: MPs have the right of access to all 
government facilities.  End note).  CEC staffers told us that 
the coalition MPs were agitating for Kivalov's reinstatement 
and Davydovych's dismissal.  Socialist MP Yevhen Filindash 
told reporters prior to arrival that they intended to remain 
at the CEC until May 27 with the goal of preventing the 
commission from "destabilizing" the situation in the country 
by implementing the "unconstitutional" decree.  Regions MP 
Kalentik, speaking at the Rada's 1700 session, said he had 
been one of the 20 visitors and claimed that CEC security 
guards arrived ten minutes after the meeting with Davydovych 
started and had tried to lock them in the office.  As of 
1900, our contacts reported that some coalition MPs, less 
than the original 20, remained in the CEC building. 
 
11. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

Wikileaks

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