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07KYIV1088, UKRAINE: ELECTION DATE HOLDING UP COMPROMISE

May 8, 2007

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07KYIV1088 2007-05-08 14:53 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO9064
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #1088/01 1281453
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 081453Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2244
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 KYIV 001088 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/08/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: ELECTION DATE HOLDING UP COMPROMISE 
 
 
KYIV 00001088  001.2 OF 004 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(a,b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary.  Negotiations may be almost complete on the 
"small package" of laws considered necessary to resolve 
Ukraine's six-week political crisis, but continued wrangling 
over whether the elections should be held in the summer or 
fall have slowed the pace of compromise.  The working group 
named May 4 by President Yushchenko and Prime Minister 
Yanukovych to finalize the details of the political 
compromise was originally scheduled to complete its task by 
May 7, according to the President at his May 4 press 
conference, in order to present the agreement to the Rada for 
a vote on May 8.  After the two sides held separate working 
group meetings and coalition leaders grandstanded at public 
hearings on new elections on the morning of May 7, the 
working group reconvened that evening, but was unable to 
reach a final agreement.  National Security and Defense 
Secretary Haiduk confirmed to the Ambassador May 8 that he 
 
SIPDIS 
had been meeting quietly with Regions financier Akhmetov, his 
former business partner, and it was agreed that big business 
wanted the situation resolved quickly.  Negotiators for the 
President have reported that the group had finished almost 
all its work, but both sides signaled that there remained a 
key disagreement over when the elections should take place. 
 
2. (C) Comment. The key question on everyone's mind is why 
Yanukovych finally agreed to new elections, with several 
explanations most likely factoring into the equation.  The 
first is that Yushchenko and Presidential Chief of Staff 
Baloha may have offered Yanukovych, assuming Regions wins a 
plurality again as expected, the first opportunity to form a 
new government, possibly even offering him support to be PM 
again.  Haiduk's comments would suggest that Akhmetov and the 
business wing of Regions may also have been pressuring the PM 
to resolve the political standoff before it led to economic 
complications.  Finally, Haiduk and political observers from 
several political camps expressed the view that Yushchenko's 
decision to fire two Constitutional Court Judges on April 30 
and May 1 was enough to throw the outcome of the Court case 
on dismissing the Rada into doubt and convince Yanukovych he 
was better off cutting a deal.  The PM's unexpected decision 
to leave the country on May 8--he flew to Spain for knee 
surgery and has not announced a return date--suggested that 
he is trying to drag out negotiations in hopes of gaining a 
better deal in terms of an election date.  Suggestions by 
coalition MPs that constitutional and legal activity 
pertinent to the election will take several months also seems 
to be a negotiation tactic to strengthen their hand.  End 
summary and comment. 
 
Negotiations Nearing Completion, but Stalled 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
3. (SBU) First Deputy Head of the Presidential Secretariat 
Vasyunyk told the press that Yushchenko's plan was to suspend 
the part of his April 26 decree that terminated the Rada's 
powers immediately upon conclusion of an agreement on a date 
for early elections.  This would allow the Rada to return to 
work and pass a "small packet" of legislation being put 
together by the working group.  Vasyunyk said Yushchenko 
would do this to ensure that all Rada decisions going forward 
are seen as "legitimate".  Vasyunyk also said that they were 
80-85 percent done with the legislative packet and he thought 
they could be finished by May 10, the deadline that 
Yushchenko has given for the working group to finish.  If 
they do not meet the deadline, according to Vasyunyk, the 
President will "make appropriate decisions." 
 
4. (SBU) Despite Yushchenko's announcement on May 4 that the 
working group would be finished with the legislative package 
by Monday May 7, disputes have centered around when the 
election would happen.  In addition, public posturing by all 
participants to gain negotiation leverage had slowed the pace 
of progress.  Tymoshenko's second-in-command Turchynov told 
the press that Communist representative at the talks, First 
Deputy Rada Speaker Martynyuk, was being especially 
obstructionist and Regions was trying to use this to its 
advantage.  He also called for the Communists and Socialists 
to be expelled from negotiations. Turchynov speculated in the 
press that Regions was okay with their coalition partners' 
intransigence because it bought time for them to push their 
agenda, namely pushing the date of the election to the fall. 
 
Haiduk: Compromise Will Be Soon, Big Business Wants a Deal 
--------------------------------------------- ------------- 
 
5. (C)  During a May 8 meeting with the Ambassador, NSDC 
Secretary Haiduk was upbeat that a final agreement between 
 
SIPDIS 
the President and PM would be achieved "within a day or two," 
referring to Communist and Socialist party objections and 
public statements as pre-election campaign posturing.  He 
 
KYIV 00001088  002.2 OF 004 
 
 
said that this agreement would include both a date for early 
elections
 and a package of the legislative actions that would 
be taken by the current Rada.  With regard to a date, Haiduk 
acknowledged that the two sides were still talking about 
different time frames--the opposition was pushing for July 
and the government for the fall.  On legislative actions, 
Haiduk noted that that Yushchenko wanted a number of laws to 
be adopted.  However, the President was willing to put some 
aside (e.g. amendments to the CabMin law and adoption of 
legislation containing the key provisions of the Universal) 
and concentrate on a "small package" that would include only 
legislation needed to hold pre-term elections.  Specifically 
this package would include amendments to the Law on Elections 
(to configure the law with the declared timeframe for the 
elections), the Law on Rada Deputies (to deal with imperative 
mandate), and the Law on the State Budget (to ensure 
financing for pre-term elections).  Haiduk acknowledged that 
adoption of the "small package" would not fix the fundamental 
contradictions/gaps in the constitution, but expressed hope 
that the next government would take action to correct these. 
Yushchenko reiterated the same position on "large" vs. 
"small" packages in a May 8 speech in Vinnitsya--he would 
rather have the former, but could live with the latter. 
 
6. (C)  Although downplaying his role in ongoing 
negotiations, Haiduk confirmed to the Ambassador that he has 
been meeting quietly with Regions financier Rinat Akhmetov to 
bridge the gap between the President and PM teams.  (Note: 
Akhmetov and Haiduk were business partners in Donetsk until 
2002-2003, when they split their interests into two 
companies.  It appears that a Haiduk-Akhmetov meeting may 
have set the stage for the May 4 Yushchenko-Yanukovych 
announcement of a deal in principle on early elections.  End 
Note.)  Haiduk acknowledged that Ukrainian big business was 
eager to get this crisis behind them and that all they wanted 
were clear established rules so that they could use their 
brains to make money; they did not want to have to wonder 
each day whether the President and the Prime Minister were 
"in a good mood."  Haiduk denied rumors that there were 
ongoing discussions about a possible presidential decision to 
impose a state of emergency, acknowledging that there were 
radicals within the opposition who wanted "everything all at 
once" but flatly stating that this was not under 
consideration.  He said that he and DPM Radchenko (in charge 
of the law enforcement and security portfolios at CabMin) 
continued to work together to ensure continued coordination 
in responding to street demonstrations and protests. 
 
Election Date is Sticking Point 
------------------------------- 
 
7. (SBU) Yanukovych and Regions faction leader Bohatyreva 
stated publicly May 7 and 8 that the fall was a better time 
to hold the new election.  Bohatyreva argued that 
constitutional changes were necessary and that late 
October/early November would be the optimal time for new 
elections.  She also said that the coalition favored 
finishing the new voter registry, which would not be done 
until October.  (Note.  The Cabinet allocated UAH 127 million 
for the new voter registry on May 3. End note.)  Regions MP 
German suggested October 14 in the press and another Regions 
MP, Yuriy Miroshnychenko told us that the fall was best. 
BYuT MP Vydrin told us that also he thought fall was the most 
likely, but no later than October 14, he explained, because 
Regions needed to get the election done before heating season 
begins in Ukraine (October 15), in case there are problems 
with it. 
 
8. (SBU) Opposition negotiators insisted that mid-July was 
the latest elections could take place.  OU leader Kyrylenko 
and Turchynov said the opposition will accept a new vote no 
later than July 8 and would hold the election without 
coalition participation if need be.  Without issuing a 
similar ultimatum, Yushchenko said in his May 8 Vinnitsya 
speech that there was no need to prolong the political crisis 
for another seven or eight months, when the elections could 
easily be held in July. 
 
Stalling for Time? 
------------------ 
 
9. (C) In a surprising move, immediately after meeting with 
Yushchenko, Yanukovych flew to Spain on May 8 for surgery on 
his knee.  This trip removes him from direct participation in 
negotiations and could be an effort to drag out negotiations 
and part of an effort to push the elections to the fall. 
Press reports said he might return on May 9 or 10, but the 
CabMin said it could not confirm a return date. 
 
What Did Yanukovych Get? 
------------------------ 
 
KYIV 00001088  003.2 OF 004 
 
 
 
10. (C) One of the key points of speculation has been what 
Yanukovych personally and Regions in general got for agreeing 
to new parliamentary elections.  One of the most 
commonly-voiced guesses is that the PM was given an assurance 
from Yushchenko that Regions would get the first chance to 
form the new government after the elections -- or perhaps 
even a promise that Yanukovych would be named Prime Minister 
again.  Chaliy told Ambassador that part of the May 4 
agreement was that first political force past the post would 
have first opportunity to form government and that a broad 
coalition was very possible, although he did not specify who 
would be in the coalition.  Segodnya, a newspaper owned by 
Regions financier Akhmetov, on May 5 quoted a Regions source 
as saying that Yushchenko "promised too much" to the PM, and 
may have agreed to form a Regions-OU coalition after the 
election with Yanukovych as PM. 
 
12. (C) Haiduk and Ukrainska Pravda journalist Serhiy 
Leshchenko told us privately, and Mykhayklo Pohrebinskiy a 
political analysts associated with Viktor Medvedchuk and 
SDPU(O), echoed publicly, that they believed that Yanukovych 
capitulated because Yushchenko fired Constitutional Court 
Judges Stanik and Pshenychniy.  In their view, once 
Yanukovych began to doubt that the Court would have enough 
votes to rule against the President's decree, he decided to 
cut a political deal. 
 
Rada Still Operating at Half Capacity 
------------------------------------- 
 
13. (SBU) Just as Moroz had promised, the Rada opened on May 
8 -- and the opposition stayed away.  (Note.  Although 262 
MPs were registered in the hall, there were clearly quite a 
few Regions MPs missing too).  While comments from the floor 
were mostly related to upcoming Victory Day issues, comments 
in the halls suggested that MPs are focused on the working 
group, although they did not always seemed informed about 
progress. 
 
14. (C) Regions firebrand MP Miroshnychenko told us May 8 
that Yushchenko and Yanukovych had made a strategic 
decision--to hold new elections--and sent a signal to the 
Rada, but it was the parliament that needed to work out all 
the details of the compromise.  There were two points lef
t in 
the working group's negotiations--the date of the elections 
and the legal basis for the elections.  In terms of the 
latter, the Rada coalition was proposing two changes to 
Article 90 in the constitution--to allow the Rada to vote 
dismiss itself and to make a lack of quorum (although he did 
not specify for how long) an automatic reason for dismissal 
of the Rada.  Socialist faction leader Bokiy echoed the need 
for constitutional changes before holding an election, which 
would require two Rada votes in two sessions, meaning the 
earliest an election could be held would be early October. 
Miroshnychenko said that there has been no discussion of the 
Socialists joining Regions' list in a new election.  (Embassy 
Note.  An agreement that required a constitutional change 
would clearly drag on for months, and ensure that pre-term 
elections did not happen any time soon.  End Note.) 
 
Right Facing Problems in Forming Bloc 
------------------------------------- 
 
15. (C) The right and right-center, reform-oriented parties 
are still trying to form an election bloc, but progress has 
stalled as major figures argue over positions on the election 
list.  Eight-sided talks were conducted May 7 between Our 
Ukraine constituent parties--People's Union Our Ukraine, 
Christian Democratic Union, and Congress of Ukrainian 
Nationalists--Forward Ukraine, the party affiliated with 
Lutsenko's People's Self-Defense Movement, the new Ukrainska 
Pravytsia--Rukh, the Ukrainian People's Party, and Sobor--and 
the youth party Pora.  Disagreements remained however, as 
People's Self-Defense and Ukrainska Pravytsia each demanded 
30 percent of spots on the list and OU resisted the proposal. 
 This has been the struggle for several weeks now as all 
parties say they want cooperation and unity, but OU has not 
wanted to give enough positions to other parties to satisfy 
them. 
 
16. (C) In addition, distrust over rumors about the deal are 
exacerbating problems within Yushchenko's camp.  Lutsenko 
demanded publicly on May 8 that leaders of OU and BYuT sign a 
written agreement that there will not be a broad coalition 
with Regions after the elections.  (Comment: Not only will a 
partnership with Regions be difficult for Lutsenko and 
Tarasyuk on an ideological level, but the personal nature of 
the attacks by the current coalition against these two former 
Yushchenko ministers will make broad cooperation a hard sell 
and could undermine any deal that Yushchenko and Yanukovych 
 
KYIV 00001088  004.2 OF 004 
 
 
have made, although this all would not unravel until after 
the elections. End comment.) 
 
17. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

Wikileaks

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