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June 27, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV1563 2007-06-27 12:46 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

DE RUEHKV #1563/01 1781246
P 271246Z JUN 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 001563 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/27/2017 
Classified By: Ambassador, reason 1.4 (b,d) 
1. (SBU) Summary:  In advance of the long (June 28 
Constitution Day) weekend, Ukraine's political scene 
sputtered slowly forward towards summer holidays and election 
campaigns.  President Yushchenko and PM Yanukovych spent 
significant time out of Kyiv, meeting twice at Boryspil 
airport to discuss the way forward.  The newly seated Central 
Election Commission (CEC) finally achieved a quorum June 25 
and distributed regional oversight portfolios, but it did not 
act on canceling the 2006 Our Ukraine (OU) electoral bloc 
list.  On June 26, the Constitutional Court (CC) announced it 
had rejected MP petitions appealing Yushchenko's decrees 
dismissing three judges appointed by Kuchma on the 
Presidential quota; this move should help clarify the 
confusing staffing on the court, including who will act as 
chair.  On June 27, the Rada, which Yushchenko and many 
consider inquorate due to the mass resignations of opposition 
MPs, concluded its summer session, with Speaker Moroz failing 
in his gambit to gain first reading consideration of 
constitutional amendments that would further strip the 
presidency of powers in favor of the Rada and Cabinet of 
Ministers.  Internal bickering about a potential electoral 
megabloc between OU, Yuri Lutsenko's People's Self Defense 
(PSD), and the Pravytsya (Union of Right Forces) continues; 
current polls suggest five political forces would clear a 
three-percent threshold in new elections: Regions, BYuT, OU, 
Communists, and PSD.  End Summary 
Central Election Commission: coalition majority scores 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
2. (SBU) On June 25, the newly seated CEC held its first 
plenary session with the minimum quorum of ten commissioners 
present.  The eight coalition-associated commissioners voted 
for a plan assigning oversight of various provinces to 
specific commissioners; the coalition-associated 
commissioners will oversee provinces representing the 
majority of Ukraine's population, including the eastern and 
southern provinces which have supported Yanukovych/Regions in 
the 2004 and 2006 election cycles.  Opposition-associated 
commissioner Pysarenko argued that coalition commissioners 
would oversee regions comprising 70% of all voters and 
complained to reporters afterwards that the majority refused 
to incorporate any opposition-suggested alterations to the 
3. (C) Note: The CEC did not act on the politically related 
issue some in the coalition, including Speaker Moroz and 
Justice Minister Lavrynovych, claim is required to provide 
full legal basis for new elections: the cancellation of the 
2006 Our Ukraine electoral bloc list, which would make it 
impossible to name replacements to the Rada for the OU MPs 
who resigned earlier in June.  Some commentators have 
suggested the lack of final resolution may be an intentional 
effort to avoid lending unambiguous legal legitimacy to a new 
round of elections.  CEC Chair Shapoval told Ambassador in 
mid-June that there was no clear legal basis for him to act, 
given recent changes in legislation, and that a political 
decision would be required.  Yushchenko, Yanukovych, and 
Shapoval met June 20 to address CEC-related issues, and it 
was hoped that the meeting would clear a way forward, 
including on the OU cancellation issue.  That did not happen 
June 25.  Yushchenko and Yanukovych met briefly at Boryspil 
Airport after Yushchenko's return from Turkey June 26; press 
reports indicated that the CEC was one of the issues 
discussed, though no details were available. 
Constitutional Court - moving towards personnel clarity? 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
4. (SBU) Ever since Yushchenko signed decrees in late 
April/early May dismissing the three judges on the 
Presidential quota appointed by his predecessor Kuchma and 
the trio (Stanik, Pshenychny, Ivashchenko) refused to vacate 
the court, the court has been beset by the question of who 
legitimately sits on and even chairs the court.  On June 26, 
the Court's press service announced that the Court had 
rejected June 19 petitions by MPs appealing against 
Yushchenko's right to dismiss the three judges (note: the 
Constitution as amended December 8, 2004 gives the president 
the right to appoint and dismiss a third of the 18 judges on 
the court).  Speaking at a June 26 congress of judges, 
Ex-Chair Dombrovsky complained of unprecented pressure on the 
court by all sides. 
5. (C) Comment:  The Court decision rejecting the appeals 
should clarify the personnel situation on the court, but the 
next Rada will still need to consider/seat Yushchenko's 
nominees, and the court will likely remain split and 
KYIV 00001563  002 OF 002 
indecisive on politically sensitive issues. 
The Rada closes: Moroz' parting shot at Yushchenko fails 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
6. (SBU) The Rada closed its current session mid-day June 27 
with PM Yanukovych and most of the Cabinet in attendance; 
presidential nominees at Foreign Affairs and Defense stayed &#
x000A;away, in keeping with Yushchenko's contention that the Rada 
is inquorate and no longer legitimate.  The morning 
proceedings began with ad hominem open mike attacks on 
Yushchenko from representatives of all three coalition 
parties.  Speaker Moroz had tabled a series of proposed 
constitutional amendments late June 26 for potential first 
reading consideration in the Rada's final scheduled plenary 
session June 27; the amendments would have stripped the 
President's right to name high-ranking military officers, 
security service personnel, and governors, eliminated one of 
the grounds to dismiss the Rada, and made it easier to 
impeach the President by removing the requirement for 
Constitutional Court review.  However, Regions resisted 
Moroz' gambit; PM Yanukovych, in his brief remarks during the 
closing ceremony, indicated constitutional amendments should 
be made when there was more stability in the country and 
after all political forces and international experts had time 
to consider the proposals. 
Electoral Preparations: Regions, BYuT focused, OU distracted 
--------------------------------------------- --------------- 
7. (SBU) There are increasing signs of parties gearing up for 
elections, with Regions and BYuT more focused; in contrast, 
Our Ukraine remains distracted with internecine quarrels. 
When we asked young rising Regions MP Yuriy Miroshnychenko 
where he would be spending his vacation after the June 27 
conclusion of the Rada, he smiled in replying: "27 
provinces."  Both BYuT MPs (Shaho, Syvulsky) who normally 
meet with us as part of a regular multi-party gathering of 
MPs whom we sent to NATO HQ last November were last minute 
cancellations for a June 25 lunch, due to intensified party 
organizational work in their home provinces of Dnipropetrovsk 
and Ternopil. 
8. (SBU) President Yushchenko, in Turkey for Black Sea 
Economic Cooperation (BSEC) meetings, and Presidential 
Secretariat head Baloha both sent rhetorical signals June 26 
in favor of a wide "megabloc" formed around OU and Lutsenko's 
PSD.  Lutsenko reiterated OU and PSD's common views, 
challenged Pravytsya to join or fade into irrelevancy on its 
own, but then added that the bloc still has not agreed on a 
name, final percentages of slots on the list, or places on 
the list - issues outstanding since early June.  OU MPs 
Prokopovych and Ruslana Lyzhychko separately told Ambassador 
June 19 that OU and PSD almost certainly would end up running 
separately, though they disagreed on whether that would be a 
net plus (Prokopovych) or minus (Ruslana).  Polls currently 
suggest five parties would clear the three percent threshold: 
Regions, BYuT, OU, Communists, and PSD. 
9. (SBU) At the June 25 MPs lunch, Ambassador urged parties 
to consider an informal election "code of conduct" in which 
party leaders would publicly endorse refraining from 
politicizing traditionally polarizing issues such as NATO and 
language use during the upcoming campaign.  MPs from Regions 
(Miroshnychenko, Vecherko) and Our Ukraine (Prokopovych, 
Ruslana Lyzhychko, Yakovyna) agreed this would be ideal, but 
suggested that fringe forces like the Communists and Natalya 
Vitrenko would still bring NATO into electoral campaign play. 
 Miroshnychenko suggested that the Universal, and its 
commitment to put NATO accession to a referendum vote, 
represented a common position; in reply, Yakovyna reminded 
Miroshnychenko that the draft OU-Regions coalition agreement 
initialed in June 2006 had more forward-leaning language on 
NATO, and Prokopovych added that Regions had backed away from 
the implied deal during Universal discussions to endorse a 
Membership Action Plan (MAP), since that was separate from 
accession/referendum discussions.  Ruslana called us June 26 
to say that she had briefed Baloha on the code of conduct 
10. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 




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