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June 4, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV1354 2007-06-04 13:06 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

DE RUEHKV #1354/01 1551306
P 041306Z JUN 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KYIV 001354 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/04/2017 
KYIV 00001354  001.2 OF 003 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(a,b,d). 
1. (SBU) Summary.  Actions by key political players June 1-2 
gave greater cause for optimism that the political compromise 
announced May 27 is being implemented, although public 
statements from Prime Minister Yanukovych and Speaker Moroz 
on June 3-4 suggested that progress may continue to be slow 
and with contentious moments.  The Rada finally passed 
amendments to the parliamentary election law and the budget, 
the latter to finance elections, late June 1.  In addition, 
the coalition and opposition agreed on a new composition of 
the Central Election Commission (CEC)--with the coalition 
nominating 8 and the opposition 7 commissioners.  Yushchenko 
and Yanukovych also agreed on presidential representative in 
the Constitutional Court Volodymyr Shapoval as the new 
Chairman of the CEC.  In addition, the President and PM came 
to an agreement over the contested Prosecutor General's 
Office (PGO), agreeing to reinstate Medvedko as PG, with 
Yushchenko's preferred candidate Shemchuk as the first deputy 
in charge of investigations.  Our Ukraine and BYuT held party 
congresses on June 2 at which they voted to expel all MPs 
from the Rada, bringing the Rada one step closer to 
dissolution.  It is now up to Moroz to announce the 
resignations and the CEC to confirm them.  However, 
Yanukovych, Moroz, and Regions faction leader Bohatyreva 
commented on June 3-4 that the coalition would push for the 
Rada to continue working for another week, which seemed 
contrary to the May 27 deal.  Late June 4, Speaker Moroz 
expressed doubt that the opposition had 150 "valid" 
resignations, noting that the Rada would stay in session 
until the situation was resolved.  That said, advisers to 
both President and PM confirmed with Ambassador that 
everything was still on track for a September 30 election. 
2. (C) Comment.  The most recent comments from Yanukovych, 
Moroz, and Bohatyreva are in line with the rhetoric that they 
have been using for weeks to spin out the political process. 
There are several legal hicccups remaining before the 
opposition MPs can truly resign from the Rada and make it 
inquorate, but if the political will is there, these 
obstables can be overcome.  As the events of June 1 
demonstrated, the coalition can move forward quickly when it 
chooses to do so, rhetorical posturing aside.  However, with 
September 30 still a long way off, we would not be surprised 
to see the coalition continue to fight to keep the Rada in 
session through June prior to the traditional July-August 
break.  End summary and comment. 
Rada Finally Passes Needed Bills... 
3. (SBU) After stalling for much of the last week, the Rada 
held a June 1 evening session in which they passed amendments 
to the election law and to the budget, allowing financing for 
elections, as well as seating a new CEC (below).  The final 
version of the election law included provisions banning 
absentee ballots and re-introducing a 50 percent voter 
turnout requirement, both of which have raised some eyebrows 
(reftel).  It also prevents parties from cancelling their 
party lists after an election--a clause intended to stop 
factions from resigning from the Rada in the future as BYuT 
and OU are doing to provide the legal pretext for new 
elections (See below for details). 
...But Not Ready to go Quietly into the Night 
4. (SBU) However, after the June 4 Consultative Council--the 
Rada leadership's weekly Monday meeting--Moroz and faction 
coordinator Bohatyreva announced that the Rada would continue 
to work this week, echoing comments made by PM Yanukovych in 
Odesa June 3.  (Note:  Yushchenko's most recent decree 
extended the authorized window for the Rada to work only 
though June 1. End note.)  They announced that the Rada would 
examine 30 bills submitted by the Cabinet and two by the 
President.  In addition, they claimed that the opposition had 
to prove that their resignations letters were legitimate and 
submitted in accordance with established procedures.  At a 
June 4 press conference, Moroz went further, questioning 
whether the opposition had registerd 150 "valid" resignations 
with the Rada Secretariat.  Moroz claimed that the Rada would 
stay in session this issue was resolved "legally."  When 
asked for comment, OU staffer Svitlana Gumeniuk told us that 
Moroz was merely posturing; the only real action remaining 
would be by the CEC, not the Rada.  OU expected CEC action 
within a week; its MPs would attend Rada sessions until the 
final decision was taken. 
5. (C) Privately, foreign policy advisers for the two Viktors 
seemed more positive that the process remained on track. 
KYIV 00001354  002.2 OF 003 
Yushchenko adviser Chaliy told Ambassador that he was more 
relaxed than he had been in weeks and that the presidential 
team was comfortable with where the political compromise had 
ended up.  PM adviser Gryshchenko told Ambassador that 
everyone was a littl
e uncomfortable with the compromise, but 
that was a good place to be.  Gryshchenko also added that the 
election cycle would not start in full until 60 days prior to 
the vote--specifying a start date of July 29 for a September 
30 election--but that smart people would start preparations 
earlier (note: we fully expect Regions and BYuT to be the 
most organized political campaigners, as they were in 2006). 
CEC Gets Reconstituted 
6. (C) The Rada also voted June 1 on a new slate of CEC 
commissioners--after the previous CEC failed to work for much 
of the past two months amidst an organized coalition 
"sick-out" and charges of politicization on both sides.  The 
new composition is split 8-7 between coalition and opposition 
nominees.  The new CEC has eight holdover commissioners from 
the previous CEC and one former commissioner who served 
through 2004 (and was removed in the previous CEC makeover). 
The new Chairman is Volodymyr Shapoval, who most recently 
argued Yushchenko's case in the Constitutional Court.  His 
deputy, Zhana Usenko-Cherna, was originally named to the CEC 
by pro-Kuchma party United Ukraine, but was put forward this 
time by the opposition; the new Secretary is Tetyana Lukash, 
sister of Yanukovych legal eagle and Deputy Minister of the 
Cabinet of Ministers Olena Lukash.  A USAID implementing 
partner who works on election issues commented that with six 
"newbies" on the CEC, including Chair and the secretary, the 
CEC could face a steep learning curve in the run-up to the 
expected September 30 elections.  He also said that although 
it was too early to say what roles various commissioners 
would play, the positioning of Lukash as Secretary was 
significant, and gave Yanukovych a direct advocate in the CEC 
Opposition Resignations Moving Forward 
7. (SBU) After the Rada finished its June 1 votes, OU and 
BYuT presented Deputy Speaker Martynyuk, who was presiding, 
with 66 OU and 103 BYuT resignations, for a total of 169 
resignations (151 were needed to prevent a quorum).  On June 
2, the two blocs held congresses where they voted to 
terminate the mandates of all their MPs.  (Note. 
Interestingly, BYuT announced that a total of 129 of its MPs 
resigned; but in fact, only 103 did so.  Another 26 were 
expelled for violating faction discipline.  OU did not 
address the issue of MP's who refused to resign.  End note.) 
The resignations must now be announced from the Rada 
rostrum--which Moroz said he would do June 5 if all the 
resignations were "valid"--and approved by the CEC. 
8. (C) Comment. Despite the progress, both factions have hit 
legal hurdles in the resignation process.  Part of the 
resignation plan called for the CEC to cancel the two blocs' 
2006 election lists, so that the newly emptied seats could 
not be backfilled.  However, the old CEC ruled that it could 
not cancel OU's party list without agreement from OU 
constituent Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of 
Ukraine (PIEU), headed by current Economy Minister Kinakh. 
Agreement from PIEU/Kinakh--who have so far refused to 
cooperate--to cancel the list would be a political signal 
that the coalition was serious about moving to new elections; 
it hasn't happened.  Separately, a lawsuit filed by a 
low-ranking member (No. 282) of the BYuT list who says he has 
the right to be an MP, has slowed the cancellation of the 
BYuT list as well.  It remains to be seen how the new CEC 
will deal with these challenges.  Both factions may be able 
to avoid this legal snafu by simply continuing to have MPs 
resign until the party lists are exhausted, but that would 
slow the process down considerably, require the Rada to stay 
in session until the process is complete, and continues to 
raise some fears that along the way the coalition would 
succeed in buying enough of these transitory MPs to keep the 
Rada from being dissolved.  End comment. 
PGO Spat Seems Resolved Too (For Now) 
10. (C) Another June 1 step in the political compromise was 
the resolution over the contested PGO.  As Tymoshenko 
previewed May 30, Yushchenko and Yanukovych agreed to 
reinstate previous PG Medvedko as PG and leave Yushchenko's 
acting PG Shemchuk in as First Deputy PG, leaving Piskun once 
again out of the job.  What remains to be seen is how the 
"broad coalition" will work inside the increasingly 
KYIV 00001354  003.2 OF 003 
disfunctional PGO.  Shemchuk has already announced that he 
plans to reopen several high-profile cases closed in January 
by Medvedko: the April 2005 death of former Interior Minister 
Kravchenko--a two gun shot wound to the head ruled a 
suicide--and charges of embezzlement and abuse of office 
against former Sumy governor Shcherban.  Shemchuk also 
announced new investigations into the charges that 
Constitutional Court Judge Stanik accepted bribes and the 
role of Interior Minister Tsushko for the use of force at the 
PGO on May 24. 
Opposition Election Bloc Seems Dead, Lutsenko Hits Resistance 
--------------------------------------------- ---------------- 
11. (SBU) In pre-election developments, People's Self-Defense 
Movement (PSD) leader Yuriy Lutsenko announced that talks 
were over between OU, his group, and Rukh-Pravtisiya (Union 
of Rightist Forces) to form a "megabloc" for the upcoming 
elections.  In particular, he said that the three elements 
had been unable to agree on how to distribute and rank spots 
on a joint list and that the others rejected his suggestion 
to change the bloc's name to the Union of Democratic Forces, 
because, in his words, the brand Our Ukraine had been 
discredited.  (Note.  On the other hand, OU faction leader 
Kyrylenko told the press that the talks were continuing and 
"95 percent" agreed.  End Note.) 
12. (SBU) Lutsenko had quietly restarted his regional rallies 
in May, which he had suspended in April during the political 
crisis and negotiations with OU.  At a June 3 rally in 
Mykolayiv, a southern province which went strongly "blue" in 
2004 and 2006, Lutsenko ran into counter-protests by far 
left-wing parties when approximately 30 representatives of 
the Communists and Nataliya Vitrenko's Progressive Socialists 
tried to block his press conference and provoked a clash with 
his supporters.  In addition, PSD was denied access to a 
local Russian Drama Theater, where it had scheduled a press 
event, and one local TV station canceled its interview with 
Our Ukraine MP Katerynchuk, a Lutsenko ally, despite a prior 
agreement to air the interview. 
13. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 




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