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07KYIV2967, UKRAINE: GETTING TO GOVERNMENT – ORANGE COALITION

December 5, 2007

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07KYIV2967 2007-12-05 13:30 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKV #2967/01 3391330
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 051330Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4493
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 002967 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/05/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE:  GETTING TO GOVERNMENT - ORANGE COALITION 
ELECTS A SPEAKER 
 
REF: KYIV 2923 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor Kent Logsdon for 
reasons 1.4(a,b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: After a day of parliamentary maneuvering, the 
orange coalition parties of Yuliya Tymoshenko and President 
Yushchenko mustered a slim-227 majority vote to elect 33-year 
old Foreign Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the Speaker of the 
Rada. The successful vote showed that the coalition is 
viable, apparently surprising opposition forces who doubted 
the coalition's ability to elect a Speaker.  Yatsenyuk, who 
was elected in a secret ballot the evening of December 4, 
took the podium minutes after the opposition called foul and 
walked out.  In his first statement as Speaker, Yatsenyuk 
called for unity, offered the opposition the post of First 
Deputy Speaker and said that approval of the 2008 budget 
would be a top priority.  The Rada is scheduled to reconvene 
on December 6, although the press is reporting that Yatsenyuk 
could forward Tymoshenko's nomination as Prime Minister to 
the President as early as December 5, as per Rada rules  The 
President will have 15 days in which to consider the 
nomination and send it back to the Rada for a confirmation 
vote that will again challenge the orange coalition to 
demonstrate its ability to produce at least 226 votes; the 
press reports that Yushchenko wants a package of "12 laws 
adopted in violation of the constitution" to be passed before 
he will forward Tymoshenko's name to the Rada for a vote. 
 
2.  (C)  The successful election of Our Ukraine's candidate 
for Speaker was a critical first test for the orange 
coalition.  Up until the result of the vote was announced, 
many (including most in the opposition) doubted that BYuT and 
OU-PSD could actually get all of their 227 deputies (former 
NSDC secretary Plyushch on the OU list declined to support 
the coalition) to the chamber and to vote for the orange 
candidate.  The day's events included an odd mid-day public 
gambit by BYuT and OU-PSD to gain Communist Party support for 
Yatsenyuk by proposing a package vote for Speaker and the two 
deputy Speakers, with Communist Adam Martynuk as candidate 
for the First Deputy Speaker post.  There was also a scuffle 
between a group of Regions and OU-PSD deputies at the end of 
the Speaker vote.  The walkout of opposition deputies just 
before the results of the vote was announced (and their 
threat to take the vote to court as illegal) was troubling; 
however, Regions deputies announced December 5 that they will 
not block the formation of a democratic coalition and will 
work with Yatsenyuk in the Rada.  All of this is prelude to 
the main event -- the vote for Tymoshenko as Prime Minister 
and formation of a government.  Once the President returns 
the nomination to the Rada, orange will need to have all of 
its Rada members in their seats and ready to vote for 
Tymoshenko.  Otherwise, Tymoshenko is expected to make good 
on her threat to leave the coalition and join the opposition, 
leaving Yushchenko and his team to pick up the pieces and 
figure out the next move.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
Orange Elects Yatsenyuk Elected as Speaker 
------------------------------------------ 
 
3.  (SBU)  The orange forces took an important next step 
toward forming a Tymoshenko-led government on December 4, 
with the successful election of FM Arseniy Yatsenyuk as Rada 
Speaker with 227 votes.  The day began with great uncertainty 
about Yatsenyuk's prospects.  As the Rada slogged through 
several hours of votes on committee jurisdictions, Yatsenyuk 
and orange heavyweights Tymoshenko, Lutsenko and Kyrylenko, 
worked the halls to prepare the groundwork for a successful 
vote.  With Communist Martynyuk in the chair, the Rada set up 
the procedures for the secret ballot vote for Speaker 
required by the Rada rules, eventually overcoming a deadlock 
and agreeing on a chairman (from Lytvyn's Bloc) for the 
Counting Commission charged with tallying the ballots for 
Speaker.  Tymoshenko and her colleagues stayed in the their 
seats, worrying that Martynyuk might make a move that would 
complicate their effort to elect a Speaker. 
 
4.  (C)  At mid-day, during a break, in what was 
widely-interpreted as reflecting a concern within the orange 
coalition that they did not have the votes to ensure 
Yatsenyuk's election, Tymoshenko, Kyrylenko and 
representatives of the BYuT and OU-PSD factions held a press 
conference in which they announced their proposal for a 
"package vote" to elect the Speaker and the two deputy 
Speakers in one vote.  The idea was that in order to shore up 
support for Yatsenyuk, the Communist faction (numbering 27 
votes), would be offered the position of first Deputy Rada 
Speaker in exchange for Communist support for the package 
vote.  In fact, when the parties returned to the Rada, the 
Communists backed a Regions' request to adjourn for the 
afternoon prior to nominating a Speaker -- as one BYuT deputy 
 
told us, in order to cut a new deal with Regions in exchange 
for their votes.  In fact, when the Rada readjourned in the 
late afternoon, the Communists did not support the idea of a 
package vote, leaving t
he orange coalition to stand on its 
own. 
 
5.  (SBU)  The first signs that the orange coalition might 
have enough support to elect Yatsenyuk was the successful 
passage of resolutions to approve the ballot form for the 
Speaker vote and agreement to remain in the chamber in order 
to elect a Speaker.  Just after 6 pm, BYuT deputy Turchynov, 
now in the chair, asked all of the factions if they had 
candidates.  OU-PSD immediately nominated Yatsenyuk; BYuT 
supported his nomination.  The other parties did not have 
candidates.  Yatsenyuk, who had met with individual factions 
on December 3 and early in the day on December 4, addressed 
the Rada and answered questions, skillfully responding to 
questions and outlining his priority program as Speaker, 
starting with the budget. 
 
6. (SBU)  The chair then called for a vote from 7:10 pm until 
8:10 pm, with counting scheduled for the following hour and 
an announcement of the results scheduled for 9:15 pm. 
Deputies from OU-PSD, BYuT and Lytvyn's Bloc lined up to 
receive their ballots; Regions and the Communists chose not 
to take part.  (Embassy note: In July 2006, OU and BYuT also 
decided not to take part in the election of Moroz as Speaker. 
 End note.)  OU-PSD and BYuT deputies then lined up to pass 
through two polling booths, especially set up for the vote 
outside the Rada chamber; although they picked up ballots, 
Lytvyn Bloc deputies decided not to vote.  Apparently, 
Tymoshenko and Turchynov stationed themselves near the 
polling booths -- Regions has alleged that they improperly 
checked each ballot before it was dropped into the ballot 
box.  Near the end of the vote, a group of Regions deputies 
reportedly approached the line and attempted to take ballots 
from several OU-PSD deputies.  There was a small fist-fight 
that ended quickly.  By 8:45 pm, word was out that Yatsenyuk 
had been elected -- all 227 deputies taking part in the vote 
had supported his candidacy.  A beaming Tymoshenko returned 
to the Rada floor where Yatsenyuk was presented with 100 red 
roses. 
 
7.  (SBU)  Just a few minutes before the results were 
officially announced, Regions' faction leader Raisa 
Bohatyreva motioned to Communist faction leader Symonyenko 
and the two factions walked out of the chamber, alleging 
improprieties with the voting, including the "checking" of 
ballots, and arguing that individual deputies had not been 
given an opportunity to self-nominate for Speaker.  After the 
official announcement, Yatsenyuk went up to the podium and 
after thanking the coalition, thanked the opposition for 
allowing the vote to happen and pledged to work with the 
opposition, offering them the position of First Deputy 
Speaker.  The deputies then spontaneously sang the national 
anthem.  Lytvyn Bloc deputies and Regions Deputy Taras 
Chornovil remained in the chamber; the Rada recessed until 
December 6. 
 
Is the PM Vote Next? 
-------------------- 
 
8.  (C)  Although the orange coalition passed the first 
public test and successfully elected a Speaker, Tymoshenko's 
election as Prime Minister is by no means a done deal. 
Although press reports state that the faction conveyed 
Tymoshenko's name to the Rada Speaker to be conveyed to 
President Yushchenko on December 5, there is no confirmation 
from the Rada or the Presidential Administration that this 
has happened yet.  Yushchenko has also been coy in his public 
response to the vote and his approach to the creation of a 
new government.  His first public comments congratulated 
Yatsenyuk on his election, and noted that the new Speaker 
would bring stability to the Rada.  Later, during a meeting 
with local officials from the regions, Yushchenko reportedly 
later said that he wanted passage of 12 key laws, initially 
adopted by the previous Rada in a form in "violation of the 
constitution," before there was a vote for Prime Minister. 
Yushchenko's comments imply that he might very well use the 
15 days accorded him by the constitution before sending 
Tymoshenko's name back to the Rada for a vote.  Tymoshenko 
told the press today that she hopes the government will be 
formed "within the next two weeks" and said that on December 
6, the Rada will start electing committee heads and forming a 
temporary commission to review the President's 12 bills.  Key 
among the 12 bills is a new Law on the Cabinet of Ministers, 
that would limit the Prime Minister's powers in a number of 
key areas important to the President. 
 
9.  (SBU)  Regions, although critical in public about the 
 
process by which Yatsenyuk was elected, is also stating 
publicly that it will return to the Rada and work with 
Yatsenyuk as Speaker.  PM Yanukovych criticized Tymoshenko 
for her methods of getting a Speaker elected, calling it 
"dictatorial democracy," but also congratulated Yatsenuk on 
his election as Speaker.  Other Regions deputies said that 
they were ready for opposition and planned to focus on work 
in committees of greatest interest to its voters.  Rumor has 
it that Regions was furious with the Communists for having 
considered a deal to support Yatsenyuk in exchange for 
getting the First Deputy Rada Speaker position.  One BYuT 
member alleged that Communist faction leader Symenyenko had 
been called in to see PM Yanukovych who convinced him that 
cooperating with Tymoshenko was a bad idea. 
 
Yatsenyuk Bio Notes 
------------------- 
 
10.  (SBU)  Yatsenyuk is the youngest Rada Speaker ever to be 
elected in Ukraine's history.  Born on May 22, 1974, in 
Chernivtsiy (near the Romanian border), the 33-year old has 
been Minister of Foreign Affairs since March 21, 2007, when 
his appointment was confirmed by the previous Rada by 400 
plus (out of 450) votes.  Trained as a lawyer and as an 
economist, Yatsenyuk burst on to the political scene in 2001, 
when he became the Minister of Economy in the Autonomous 
Republic of Crimean Government.  He was a deputy Governor of 
the National Bank and deputy head of the Odesa oblast 
administration before becoming Minister of Economy in 
September 2005 in the Yekhanurov Government.  In September 
2006, when the Yanukovych Government came into power, he 
became the deputy head of the Presidential Administration and 
then moved to the Foreign Ministry.  Yatsenyuk is fluent in 
English, married and has two young daughters.  Yatsenyuk has 
been a long-time good contact of the Embassy in all of his 
government positions and is expected to be an acceptable 
Speaker for both the orange coalition parties as well as the 
opposition. 
 
11. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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