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07KYIV2766, UKRAINE: COALITION POSSIBILITIES – READING THE

November 7, 2007

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07KYIV2766 2007-11-07 14:59 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO0609
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #2766/01 3111459
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 071459Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4272
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KYIV 002766 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/05/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE:  COALITION POSSIBILITIES - READING THE 
TEA LEAVES IN KYIV 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(a,b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  With the opening of the Rada on the horizon 
and after five weeks of coalition discussions between 
representatives of all of the major parties and President 
Yushchenko, we have boiled down the main number of 
possibilities for the next government to four -- an orange 
coalition led by Yuliya Tymoshenko; a broad coalition between 
Party of Regions and Our Ukraine-People's Self Defense 
possibly to include the Lytvyn Bloc; a temporary, 
technocratic government made up of some combination of 
Regions, OU-PSD, Lytvyn's bloc and other individual 
lawmakers, with or without a formal coalition agreement; or a 
continuation of the Yanukovych Government in an acting 
capacity.  An outside fifth possibility, floated recently by 
Regions with us and possibly with the President, would be an 
agreement to suspend the constitution and operate under a 
"political agreement" while a new constitution is being 
drafted, leaving the Yanukovych Government in place in an 
acting capacity, with or without new ministers from 
participating factions.  Of course, all of these variants 
have sub-variants, and some may figure in two-step scenarios 
as Plan A and Plan B.  For example, many in Kyiv continue to 
argue that orange will be given a chance, and when (not if) 
Tymoshenko's government fails, either a broad coalition or a 
technocratic government will take its place.  The Rada is 
required to take its seats no later than November 26; once it 
is seated, it will have 30 days to establish a coalition (no 
later than December 26).  So far, all political forces seem 
committed to sticking to the timeline. 
 
2.  (C)  Comment.  At this point, we believe that an orange 
coalition with a slim majority has a 50% chance of 
succeeding, although all options are definitely in play. 
Fortunately, the idea of suspending the constitution and 
working pursuant to some kind of vague political 
understanding appears to be more of a trial balloon rather 
than a real plan.  If the factions cannot agree on a 
coalition, Yanukovych's Acting Government would stay in place 
until a new PM is confirmed.  Normally, if no coalition 
emerges within 30 days of the Rada's opening or no government 
is confirmed within 60 days, the President has the right to 
dissolve the Rada and call for new elections; however, the 
constitution also says that new elections cannot be called 
for one year after pre-term polls.  With regard to USG 
policy, we continue to state that we have no favorite colors 
or preferred coalition outcome.  Our key USG messages to 
Ukrainian political forces should be: do not try to operate 
without a constitution in force; elect a Rada leadership and 
form committees as soon as possible to begin legislating; and 
select and confirm a permanent government as soon as possible 
and do not leave an acting unstable and uncertain government 
in place.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
An Orange Coalition Still in Play 
--------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) Although the results of the September 30 election made 
an orange coalition between Yuliya Tymoshenko's BYuT and 
President Yushchenko's OU-PSD possible, thus far this has 
remained a theoretical rather than a concrete option.  With a 
combined 228 seats -- 226 is needed for a majority -- BYuT 
and OU-PSD can form a coalition and elect a Tymoshenko-led 
government, but they would need practically every member of 
each bloc to both be present for the first few sessions of 
the new Rada and to vote in favor to do it.  Although 
Tymoshenko and OU-PSD political leaders Lutsenko and 
Kyrylenko have been confident in public about their ability 
to deliver the necessary 228 votes, all have told us 
privately that they are concerned about getting and holding 
on to the votes.  The effort to secure and maintain the 228 
votes has taken place against the backdrop of continued 
public criticism from President Yushchenko and his chief of 
staff Viktor Baloha about Tymoshenko's proposed program as 
well as press reports regarding individual OU-PSD leaders 
refusing to initial the draft coalition agreement or 
expressing opposition to Tymoshenko's PM candidacy. 
 
4. (C)  Nonetheless, in our view, an orange coalition is 
still possible, including approval of a new government led by 
Yuliya Tymoshenko, even though the odds of this coming to 
pass are probably only 50% at most.  Many in OU-PSD who might 
oppose Tymoshenko as PM believe that politically they must 
support her -- or at least not be seen to oppose her 
candidacy -- if they want to maintain voter support and if 
they want to avoid making her the shoo-in orange candidate 
for the presidency in 2009.  There are others who argue that 
all of the posturing in the public and the press about 
disagreement on policies and positions is simply part of the 
negotiating process needed to establish the coalition.  And, 
 
KYIV 00002766  002 OF 003 
 
 
his protests in the press and comments to us about his 
dislike of Tymoshenko notwithstanding, if Volodymyr Lytvyn 
were to throw his lot in with the orange team, maybe taking 

the Speaker slot as part of the deal, the orange coalition 
might be more viable for a longer term.  Elements in Regions 
have noted that they would be happy to sit back and wait for 
what they see as the inevitable -- another 
Yushchenko-Tymoshenko falling out, a la September 2005, that 
would lead to her dismissal or departure, and a resumption of 
Tymoshenko's campaign for the presidency. 
 
5.  (C)  There is another factor supporting the establishment 
of orange -- some within OU-PSD, the Presidential 
Secretariat, and Regions have argued that an orange coalition 
 
SIPDIS 
and a Tymoshenko-led government is a temporary, but necessary 
measure before either a broad coalition or a technocratic 
government could take office.  Formation of an orange 
government would deny Tymoshenko the chance to tell voters 
that Yushchenko and OU had thwarted her candidacy as PM.  It 
would also let Yushchenko and OU show its voters that they 
had given Tymoshenko a chance and that she had failed. 
Finally, an orange coalition, albeit short-lived, would allow 
those who prefer a "technocratic variant" to fulfill the 
constitutional requirement that a coalition must be formed 
when a new Rada is seated, a scenario OU-PSD head Lutsenko 
laid out for the Ambassador in October.  With regard to 
timing, as Lutsenko quipped to the Ambassador, a 
Tymoshenko-led government might survive only until the 
"drinking season" of the New Year's holidays ended (late 
January); others give it six to nine months. 
 
A Broad Coalition - Too Much for Yushchenko? 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
6.  (C)  Assuming that an orange coalition fails, one 
alternative is the formation of the long-debated and 
oft-discussed "broad coalition" between Regions and OU-PSD, 
perhaps including the Lytvyn Bloc.  However, this may be too 
much for the OU-PSD faithful and a task that Yushchenko may 
not be able to accomplish.  Yushchenko spent the last six 
months accusing Yanukovych and Regions of attempting to 
concentrate all political power in their hands.  It is hard 
to see how he can convince his voters that OU should now form 
a coalition with them, at least not before he gives 
Tymoshenko a chance to form an orange coalition and govern. 
Yanukovych is doing his part to pave the way forward on this 
option, making numerous public statements about his close 
cooperative relationship with the President.  Yanukovych  is 
also wooing Lytvyn as an insurance policy to increase his 
number of votes.  One way of making a broad coalition more 
palatable for OU voters would be for Regions to agree to a 
broad coalition without Yanukovych, leaving OU and Regions 
the job of finding a candidate acceptable to both sides -- 
Presidential chief of staff Baloha and trusted loyalist 
former PM Yekhanurov are considered to be leading candidates 
for the job. 
 
7.  (C)  A broad coalition without Yanukovych at the head is 
also a challenge for Regions.  According to the polls, no 
other Regions leader has the same high popularity as the 
Prime Minister.  Other party leaders are not ready for or 
don't want the job -- for example, Raisa Bohatyreva is a 
political leader without her own base or financial resources; 
Rinat Akhmetov remains a businessman first and a reluctant 
politician second; and others just don't have the name 
recognition.  Deputy Prime Minister Klyuyev somewhat 
cryptically told the Ambassador that in the end they would 
make a broad coalition work, implying that they would be 
willing to jettison Yanukovych if they had to.  The party 
could keep Yanukovych in the public eye by ensuring that he 
ends up with another high-visibility post (such as Speaker), 
keeping him on track to land the President's office in 2009, 
another key goal for Regions.  Or, the decision to agree to 
another Prime Minister could signal Regions' decision to back 
a different presidential candidate.  A decision to enter into 
a broad coalition with OU-PSD would also come with political 
downsides -- Regions would have to explain the decision to 
its electorate, although its base might be more understanding 
than OU-PSD's. 
 
No Coalition -- The Technocratic Variant 
---------------------------------------- 
 
8.  (C)  If Tymoshenko and her OU-PSD allies fail to get the 
226 votes needed to either sign a coalition agreement or to 
elect a government, or if a Tymoshenko-led government takes 
office and then collapses, and if OU-PSD and Regions cannot 
reach agreement on a broad coalition, some in OU-PSD, 
Regions, the Lytvyn Bloc and even elements of BYuT might 
support some kind of a temporary, technocratic government. 
 
KYIV 00002766  003 OF 003 
 
 
Given the difficulties of putting together a broad coalition 
in the current political environment, it is certainly a 
serious option backed by some in OU-PSD.  In this scenario, 
the Rada could function without a formal coalition agreement, 
leaving political factions to work together to elect a 
Speaker, appoint committee chairs, and start legislating. 
However, it is unclear how this might work in practice since 
the Rada rules and the Constitution say that a coalition of 
parliamentary factions shall be formed in the Rada to include 
a majority of MP's.  Some have seized upon the Constitution's 
use of the word "shall" rather than "must" to argue that a 
coalition is not absolutely required, but this strategy would 
be open to legal challenges in court.  Others have pushed the 
argument laid out above that if the orange coalition is 
confirmed, and then fails to elect a government, the 
requirement for a coalition has been met and there does not 
need to be another version approved. 
 
9.  (C)  Most see a technocratic government formed from 
scratch, to include representatives nominated by all of the 
factions in the Rada supporting this variant, potentially all 
but the Communists.  No coalition agreement would be 
required, using the "shall" versus "must" argument.  Members 
of OU-PSD have argued that since, in this scenario, neither 
Tymoshenko nor Yanukovych could get enough votes to be PM, 
the nomination for PM would fall to OU-PSD.  Many see 
Yushchenko as then turning to either his ambitious chief of 
staff Baloha (rumored by many to be angling already for the 
premiership) or previous PM Yekhanurov, who is respected by 
many in Regions, to head a new technocratic government.  Even 
better for Yushchenko, neither is reportedly interested in 
making a run at the presidency in 2009. 
 
Or No Coalition -- Yanukovych As Acting 
--------------------------------------- 
 
10.  (C)  Should Tymoshenko and OU-PSD fail to conclude a 
formal coalition agreement or elect a government, another 
possibility might be that in the absence of any successful 
vote for a government, Yanukovych and his Cabinet would 
remain in power in acting status.  Presumably the Government 
would remain in place until either a constitutional 
commission drafted a new constitution or a year has gone by, 
allowing Yus
hchenko to call new Rada elections.  In this 
scenario, the Rada would elect a Speaker and appoint 
committee heads and get on with the business of legislating 
-- without a governing coalition agreement.  Individual 
ministers could be replaced as part of the overall tacit 
agreement to leave Yanukovych in place as PM to better 
reflect the parties supporting this variant. 
 
Desperate Times ...Suspending the Constitution 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
11. (C)  A number of Regions representatives, including the 
Prime Minister, have hinted publicly and privately about 
working with the President to find an extra-constitutional 
solution to a future deadlock if no grouping of political 
forces succeeded in forming a coalition.  Specifically, they 
have floated the idea of reaching an agreement with the 
President to suspend the constitution and govern the country 
under some kind of "political understanding" for a year while 
a special constitutional commission meets to draft and adopt 
a new constitution.  Although not directly stated, the 
assumption is that Yanukovych would remain as PM during this 
period.  Thus far, this seems to be nothing more than a trial 
balloon.  However, should there be a deadlock in the Rada -- 
either because the parties cannot or do not want to reach 
agreement on forming a coalition, then we do not rule out the 
possibility that major political leaders may consider this 
among their options. 
 
12. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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