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07KYIV2498, UKRAINE: PARTIES LAY OUT CONCERNS, PLANS ON EVE OF

September 28, 2007

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07KYIV2498 2007-09-28 13:33 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO1263
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #2498/01 2711333
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 281333Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3931
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 03 KYIV 002498 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/28/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: PARTIES LAY OUT CONCERNS, PLANS ON EVE OF 
ELECTIONS 
 
 
KYIV 00002498  001.2 OF 003 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary. As the campaign comes to a halt September 28 
at midnight, all three major parties -- Our Ukraine-People's 
Self-Defense, BYuT, and Party of Regions -- have laid out 
their final positions, telling international observers that 
they will abide by any election results that the 
international community deems free and fair, but accusing 
their opponents of planning to commit fraud.  All are 
promising to be honest and say they are looking for 
"compromise" after the elections.  OU-PSD and BYuT, following 
a September 27 meeting between the President and Tymoshenko, 
are offering key government positions, including the 
Speakership, to Regions in exchange for acceptance of an 
orange coalition.  PM Yanukovych told the press that he was 
prepared to work with the "orange parties" after the 
elections.  However, Regions has also emphasized that it has 
a legal arsenal at its fingertips -- documented election 
violations, prepared lawsuits, and lawyers stationed around 
the country -- if it is unhappy with the outcome.  With the 
race still too close to call, accusations and 
counteraccusations will cloud voting day and could set the 
stage for a drawn-out series of post-election court 
challenges. 
 
2.  (C)  Comment.  Official campaigning will come to an end 
with public appearances by the leaders of the three major 
parties.  President Yushchenko will appear on live television 
on one of Ukraine's most popular political talk shows. 
OU-PSD's "top five" led a rally of supporters in Kyiv's 
European Square.  PM Yanukovych, who spent the morning of 
September 28 in Donetsk, will participate in an evening 
concert taking place in six cities linked by video (Kyiv, 
Donetsk, Kharkiv, Odesa, Simferopol and Kirovograd).  And 
Yuliya Tymoshenko will lead a prayer service at Kyiv's St. 
Sofia's Square.  We anticipate that Saturday, September 29, 
will be a quiet day.  However, President Yushchenko is now 
scheduled to address the nation at 9 pm on the eve of the 
election -- an appearance that will certainly cause his 
opponents to cry foul.  As the three parties head into 
election day, their moods are strikingly different.  BYuT, 
with its rumored bounce in the polls, seems excited;  Regions 
more defensive and focused on the task at hand, while Our 
Ukraine-People's Self Defense is resigned to a third-place 
finish.  End summary and comment. 
 
Our Ukraine: Reassuring All Sides 
--------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) OU-PSD's message in the last days of the campaign 
seems to be intended to reassure both BYuT and Regions of 
their good intentions, presumably in hopes of convincing the 
two strongest parties that there is no reason to cheat.  OU 
legal eagle Mykola Onyshchuk told a group of observers from 
the International Republican Institute (IRI) on September 27, 
and presidential foreign policy adviser Oleksandr Chaliy 
privately reiterated to the Ambassador, that they were 
looking for a "consensus" option that would see the main 
opposition party, either BYuT or Regions, receive key 
appointments possibly including the Speakership of the Rada. 
 
4. (SBU) At the IRI meeting, Onyshchuk said that OU-PSD's 
main concerns about voting day are mobile balloting, 
inaccurate voter lists, and the role of the Border Guards. 
He said that an OU-PSD party observer will follow all mobile 
ballot boxes, but they had no illusions that they could 
control the mobile boxes in the East and South, where most of 
the commissioners appointed on the OU quota were not die-hard 
party faithful, and in some cases, actually loyal to Regions. 
 Onyshchuk also said the voter lists this year were worse 
than the ones used in 2006 and they believed 1,100,000 names 
appeared twice on the lists -- a problem across the country, 
but found to be disproportionately high in Donetsk, Luhansk, 
and Kharkiv.  OU-PSD and BYuT had submitted requests to 
Polling Station Commissions (PSCs), as procedure required, to 
have the repeat names struck from the lists, but many PSCs in 
the South and East were refusing to do so.  They would appeal 
to the (District Electoral Commissions (DECs) next, but 
thought they would have to go to court in some instances to 
get the lists fixed.  He also warned that the legal 
requirement for the Border Guards to cross off the lists the 
names of voters who did not return to Ukraine more than three 
days before the election would result in approximately 
600,000 people losing the right to vote.  OU would go to 
court in any district where they thought names had been 
removed improperly.  OU-PSD has issued instructions to all 
its commissioners not to sign protocols if they themselves 
had not been allowed to count the ballots. 
 
5. (SBU) In terms of the bloc's plans following the election, 
 
KYIV 00002498  002.2 OF 003 
 
 
Onyshchuk said that they would acknowledge the results of the 
vote, and encourage all to do the same, and then to work for 
a consensus between all major parties.  To make
 a coalition 
more palatable to whichever party was not in it, OU-PSD was 
advocating giving key positions, such as the Prosecutor 
General and the head of the Tender Chamber, which runs the 
government procurement process, to the opposition to fill. 
This would give the opposition an oversight role.  (Embassy 
note:  Although not explicitly stated, this approach implies 
that OU-PSD believes that it will be in Government -- either 
with BYuT in an orange coalition or in a broad coalition with 
Regions.  End Note)  Onyshchuk concluded by saying that a bad 
election would cause Ukraine to lose a lot of valuable time 
needed for European integration.  They remained very worried 
about fraud in eastern Ukraine, but hoped that Regions' 
concern about its international reputation and the knowledge 
that the West was watching closely would deter them from 
engaging in bad behavior. 
 
6. (C) Chaliy laid out a similar plan for the Ambassador.  He 
said there were two scenarios the Presidential team was 
exploring -- an orange coalition if OU-PSD and BYuT get 226 
seats or a broad coalition between OU-PSD and Regions.  In 
either case, they would bring opposition members into the 
government, without the party actually joining the government 
coalition.  For example, if there is an orange coalition, 
they would offer Regions either the Speakership or a Deputy 
Prime Minister position.  In a broad coalition, Tymoshenko 
would be offered a key spot.  He thought that this compromise 
would be an easier sell with Regions than with Tymoshenko. 
 
7. (C) Comment.  Although OU's plan might help reconcile 
Regions to an orange government, it also seems aimed at 
coopting Yanukovych or Tymoshenko by forcing them into soft 
opposition.  This might make it harder for whoever the 
noncoalition member is to attack Yushchenko during the 2009 
presidential campaign, because Yushchenko will be able to 
argue they were all in the government together.  End comment. 
 
BYuT: Will Accept Any Free and Fair Outcome, Watch the East 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
 
8. (SBU) At a September 28 meeting with the diplomatic corps 
and international election observers, Tymoshenko pledged that 
BYuT would accept any election outcome, as long as the vote 
is deemed free and fair by the OSCE.  She said turnout would 
be high and implied that BYuT's internal poll numbers showed 
it will do better than expected, while Regions may be 
suffering.  She said they were concerned about falsification, 
especially in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Crimea, but thought 
overall levels of fraud would not be high.  Her main concern 
was the use of courts afterwards to challenge the vote count. 
 Looking past election day, she said that if the democratic 
forces win a majority, there will be a government within a 
couple of days.  Moreover, they will adopt a law on the 
opposition to give Regions oversight powers and certain 
positions, including possibly the Speaker.  However, she 
underscored that in the event that Regions and OU-PSD formed 
the next government, BYuT would be in opposition and that she 
would not accept the speakership. 
 
9. (SBU) The previous day, September 27, Tymoshenko's foreign 
policy adviser Hryhoriy Nemyria laid out much more detailed 
concerns about falsification for IRI's election observers. 
He said BYuT's main worries were the voter lists, mobile 
balloting, and the vote count itself.  He said that the voter 
lists had large numbers of doubles, as well as dead voters -- 
for example, in Luhansk they had found more than 300 
registered voters all over the age of 100.  He said sometimes 
this is a technical problem, but more often it is an 
intentional attempt to inflate the lists.  BYuT had found the 
most problems in Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk, Mykolayiv, and 
Odesa.  (Note.  Interestingly, later he mentioned they were 
also worried about Zakarpatiya, the home oblast of 
Presidential Chief of Staff Baloha.  End note.)  Nemyria 
thought Regions would use home voting as a way to get 
disillusioned Regions voters, who had decided not to vote, to 
cast a ballot.  It is much harder to abstain, he argued, when 
three or four commissioners show up at your door, especially 
if one holds a position of influence in the local factory or 
school.  Finally, there could be problems with the vote 
count.  To combat this, BYuT would look to the Democratic 
Intiatives-led exit poll and conduct its own parallel vote 
count.  He passed out an analysis BYuT had put together of 
all the possible forms of vote fraud. 
 
10. (SBU) Nemyria also warned that Regions was working on its 
Plan B.  Regions MP Kivalov had published an article urging 
small parties to go to the courts after the election to 
contest results.  Regions was amassing people and tents in 
 
KYIV 00002498  003.2 OF 003 
 
 
the Maidan and in front of the CEC.  Nemyria said the idea 
was to slow down the vote count and allow the Yanukovych 
government to remain in caretaker status while they worked on 
a new plan and quickly privatized key assets. 
 
Regions: Legal Briefs are Already Prepared 
------------------------------------------ 
 
11. (C) Regions representatives Ivan Popesku and Yuriy 
Miroshnychenko, the head of their legal department, gave 
polished presentations to IRI about how Regions was more 
interested than any other party in a free and fair election. 
After all, they were in the lead and don't want the 
legitimacy of their new coalition and government to be in 
question.  They talked at length about Regions' code of 
conduct that all their representatives in the field had to 
sign, and did their best to persuade the audience that 
Regions is taking responsibility for making this a free and 
fair election.  In the process, they conveyed the impression 
that there is a very large contingent of Regions lawyers and 
representatives in the field actively documenting election 
problems, preparing to challenge any allegations that Regions 
has done anything wrong, and compiling evidence of opposition 
violations.  They have delegated English-speaking 
representatives to all the regions to meet with international 
observers.  (Embassy note.  During poloff's recent meeting at 
a Regions headquarters in Vinnytsyia, such a representative 
appeared and presented "documentation" of election abuses by 
Regions' opponents, in both Ukrainian and English.  End 
note.)  They made a point of telling us that they held 
training for their representatives to let them know that only 
officially documented, legally viable complaints will be 
accepted.  (Comment: At the very least, we expect they will 
have much better organized evidence than anyone else.  In 
contrast, in 2004 an Orange Revolution organizer told us that 
it was mostly by chance -- and through the efforts of an NGO 
-- that they had a database of information on election fraud 
adequate for the court case that gave them their victory, 
because none of the parties thought to collect this 
information in an organized fashio
n.  End comment.) 
 
12. (SBU) Miroshnychenko said the main threats to the 
election were abuse of administrative resources, problems 
with voters' lists (which would facilitate voting by absent 
persons), and potential bad behavior or failure to fulfill 
duties by opposition polling station commissioners.  He 
underscored Regions' view that it was illegal for the 
President to campaign for one party, alleged that the working 
groups putting together the voter lists were under the 
control of presidentially-appointed regional administrations, 
and said Regions was alarmed by the President's suspension of 
the Cabinet decrees to check the physical presence of voters, 
noting that the majority of citizens who are abroad are from 
Western Ukraine.  Miroshnychenko claimed that the Ministry of 
Interior found that 3.3 million people are abroad, two-thirds 
of whom are from Western Ukraine. He noted that Regions has 
collected data about violations by BYuT, Lytvyn, OU-PSD, and 
Regions -- but none of the allegations against Regions had 
proved verifiable. 
 
13. (SBU) Popesku emphasized that the political crisis that 
led to this election stemmed from the lack of a broad 
coalition.  He said Regions wants the elections to result in 
a compromise among the parties, to unite the Ukrainian 
nation, and therefore it was extremely important that the 
elections be honest and fair.  Regions could not afford to 
repeat the confrontation of the spring, and he clearly 
declared that the party agreed to accept any outcome provided 
it is transparent, honest, and not falsified.  He claimed the 
party has instructed their polling station commissioners to 
sign the protocols, provided they are objective, and called 
on its opponents to do the same and not create any 
obstacles-clearly a reference to their claim that OU/BYuT 
have ordered their polling commissioners not to sign 
protocols in the East. 
 
14. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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