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May 16, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV1180 2007-05-16 15:17 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

DE RUEHKV #1180/01 1361517
P 161517Z MAY 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 001180 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/16/2017 
KYIV 00001180  001.2 OF 002 
Classified By: DCM for reasons 1.4(a,b,d). 
1. (C) Summary. Despite talk over the weekend that President 
Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yanukovych would finalize a 
political compromise that included early parliamentary 
elections on May 16, talks between the two leaders fizzled 
out as disagreements over the date of a new vote and what the 
legal basis for the new elections would be remained 
unresolved.  Privately, Deputy Head of the Presidential 
Secretariat Chaliy and PM Foreign Policy Adviser Gryshchenko 
told Ambassador that a possible way forward might be for 
Yanukovych to dissolve the coalition; if a new coalition was 
not formed within 30 days, the President would have the 
explicit constitutional right to dissolve the Rada.  Regions 
MP Kolesnikov, a close ally of oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, told 
Ambassador that some in Regions favored a different strategy: 
the President would dissolve the Rada after 30 days without 
quorum, but in exchange, Regions would get to implement 
constitutional amendments that would effectively push the 
election date back to October 28. 
2. (C) Summary ctnd. Publicly, both PM and President 
increased their public rhetoric before meeting.  Yanukovych 
told the Cabinet that elections would be a solution only if 
there was a legal basis--a departure from his broader 
endorsement of new elections on May 4--and said that he hoped 
for a Constitutional Court ruling in the near future, as the 
two Judges Yushchenko fired returned to work under a regional 
court order.  Yushchenko told the press that if nothing was 
fixed by May 18, he would ask the NSDC to resolve the crisis 
at its scheduled meeting.  Publicly, their 
seconds-in-command, First Deputy PM Azarov and NSDC Secretary 
Plyushch, told the press that the two leaders had decided to 
give the working group a couple more days to iron out key 
3. (C) Comment.  Although both sides have indicated that a 
fall election might be acceptable, apparently neither side 
was happy enough with the deal to finalize it.  The 
Ambassador continues to encourage all participants to find a 
compromise and to reiterate that dramatic steps from either 
camp may only jeopardize a political resolution.  Some in 
Regions again appear to be banking on the threat of a 
favorable CC ruling against the President as a pressure point 
against Yushchenko.  Chaliy told Ambassador that the 
President's team feels that the PM may be backing away from 
early elections and that this is a "dangerous and uncertain 
time" that might require strong presidential action, implying 
that Yushchenko may be poised to use the NSDC to overrule the 
Court or the Government to enforce his decree.  Even if both 
sides are simply ratcheting up the rhetoric in hopes of 
getting a better deal in a political compromise, the longer 
they go without a final agreement, the more likely it is that 
elections will not take place until the fall.  Such a delay 
allows Regions time to increase social spending to bolster 
its political standing and more opportunity to chip away at 
Yushchenko's new-found popularity; he outranks opposition 
leader Tymoshenko for the first time in more than a year. 
End summary and comment. 
No Progress Made in President-PM Talks 
4. (SBU)  Although Plyushch and Azarov told the press on May 
12 that the President and PM would decide on an election date 
on May 16, the meeting between the two leaders, with Plyushch 
and Azarov present, produced no results.  In a briefing 
afterwards, the two lieutenants said that the working group 
would be given a few more days to work out remaining 
disagreements, of which, Plyushch said, there were more than 
they had originally thought.  Plyushch indicated that he 
believed constitutional amendments would be needed, although 
the group would try to work around that.  Azarov said that he 
thought the problems could all be resolved through 
5. (SBU) Prior to the meeting, Yanukovych held a Cabinet 
meeting at which he spoke of the possibility of elections, 
only if the proper legal grounds were established, a seeming 
backtrack from his May 4 agreement with Yushchenko that early 
elections were part of the deal.   He also demanded that the 
full Rada get back to work and that the President start 
signing laws passed by the Rada.  Yanukovych also announced 
that he planned for 40 percent increases in wages and 33 
percent increases in pensions by the end of the year. 
(Comment. The wage and pension increases, which could cause 
fiscal problems if fully implemented, appear aimed at 
building up popular support for Regions before elections take 
place, probably one reason why Regions is pushing hard for a 
fall election date. End comment.)  Regions faction leader 
Bohatyreva told Ambassador on May 15 that they could not help 
KYIV 00001180  002.2 OF 002 
it if such social spending looked like it was 
election-related; they were, she argued, simply part of an 
economic policy that Regions had advocated all along. 
Chaliy and Grys
hchenko: Elections Need Legal Basis 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
6. (C) Deputy Head of the Presidential Secretariat Chaliy and 
PM Adviser Gryshchenko told Ambassador separately late on May 
16 that there were two remaining points of dispute between 
Yushchenko and Yanukovych: the date of the election and the 
legal basis for holding the election.  Gryshchenko said that 
Regions is still committed to early elections, but there has 
to be solid legal grounds, so that no one can challenge the 
new vote later on.  He said that they were considering having 
Yanukovych dissolve the coalition and then refuse to form a 
new one; this would invoke constitutional article 90, which 
says the President can dissolve the Rada if a coalition is 
not formed within one month. 
7. (C) Chaliy also mentioned this scenario to Ambassador, but 
he cautioned that his team was worried that Regions might 
renege on the agreement on early elections.  He said this was 
a "dangerous and uncertain" time and he warned that strong 
presidential action might be needed.  He seemed to be 
implying that Yushchenko might use the NSDC to move forward 
on elections, which Yushchenko suggested publicly, although 
he did not specify how. 
Kolesnikov, Bohatyreva: Fall Elections Are Best 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
8. (C) Regions MP Borys Kolesnikov, the political yin to 
Akhmetov's financial yang, told Ambassador late on May 16 
that he did not think Regions dissolving the coalition itself 
was a sound political strategy.  Instead, the Rada would stop 
meeting for 30 days, invoking constitutional article 82, 
which says that without a two-thirds quorum, the Rada is not 
competent.  In exchange for agreement on early elections, 
Kolesnikov argued that Regions should be allowed to amend 
article 90, to avoid a similar political crisis in the 
future.  He added that amending the constitution requires two 
votes in two separate Rada sessions, so by his timeline new 
Rada elections would take place October 28.  Early September 
was bad anyway, he stated, because it would mean a summer 
campaign.  Kolesnikov also said that BYuT was comfortable 
with fall elections, with the condition that the threshold to 
get into the Rada be raised from its current 3 percent. 
(Note.  Kolesnikov did not say to what level the threshold 
might be raised, but conventional wisdom in the past has been 
5-7 perecent.  End note.) 
9. (C) In a May 15 meeting, Regions faction leader Bohatyreva 
also argued strongly to Ambassador that an October election 
made a lot more sense--they needed to wait until people were 
back at work and students back in school.  She also said that 
Regions wanted Our Ukraine and Yushchenko to have a higher 
political rating than Tymoshenko and her Bloc.  She argued 
that that Regions and OU were the two parties that shared the 
most similar ideology; her party's strategy would be to 
advertise that similarity to the electorate.  Regions 
believed that Yushchenko had to demonstrate that he was 
President of the whole country and that he needed to do it 
quickly--after all, 2009 was not that far away.  (Note. A 
reference to the next presidential election. End note.) 
Constitutional Court: Back to Full Capacity 
10. (C) Yanukovych announced at the May 16 Cabinet meeting 
that CC Judges Pshenychniy and Stanik were back at work--on 
May 15 a Donetsk court overturned Yushchenko's decrees firing 
them, although a Donetsk appellate court froze that decision 
on May 16 while it hears the case. The PM said that he was 
hoping for a Court ruling in the near future.  Kolesnikov 
also gave the sense that some in Regions would like a CC 
decision.  Yushchenko's nominee to replaced Pshenychniy on 
the Court, Stepan Havrysh, told the press on May 16 that he 
expected a CC ruling by Friday May 18, and many press sites 
are reporting that the CC has moved to consider the April 2 
and April 26 decrees together.  However, Judge Shyshkin told 
us privately that although it was true that Stanik and 
Pshenychniy had returned to work, the Court was not 
considering either decree, but rather reviewing procedural 
issues.  Given that fact, he did not see how a decision could 
be reached by May 18. 
11. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 




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