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07KYIV3086, UKRAINE: TYMOSHENKO ELECTED AS PM; NEW GOVERNMENT

December 18, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV3086 2007-12-18 13:49 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKV #3086/01 3521349
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 181349Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4589
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 003086 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/18/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: TYMOSHENKO ELECTED AS PM; NEW GOVERNMENT 
TAKES OFFICE 
 
Classified By: Polcouns Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4(a,b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: After several weeks of debate and 
uncertainty, the orange coalition came together and confirmed 
Yuliya Tymoshenko as the new prime minister of Ukraine on 
December 18.  Tymoshenko was confirmed with 226 votes, the 
minimum number of votes necessary in the 450-member Rada. 
Only MPs from Tymoshenko's BYuT and Our Ukraine-People's Self 
Defense (OU-PSD) participated in the vote; MPs from Regions, 
the Communists, and Lytvyn Bloc attended the session, but did 
not register or participate in any votes.  Using a 
complicated "roll call" system for all of the votes, the Rada 
also dismissed Acting PM Yanukovych and his cabinet, and then 
elected a new Cabinet of Ministers (see paragraph 9 below). 
Up to the moment of the PM vote, there was uncertainty within 
the coalition about whether or not Tymoshenko would have the 
votes, with former PM Yekhanurov telling the press before the 
vote that he would not support Tymoshenko unless the full 
government slate was agreed and OU-PSD deputy Spodarenko 
unable to leave his hospital bed. 
 
2.  (C)  Comment:  The nail-biter successful vote for 
Tymoshenko ended the speculation that President Yushchenko 
did not want to see Tymoshenko regain the PM job (he fired 
her from the position in September 2005 after just eight 
months on the job), but it remains unclear how stable the new 
coalition will be.  Tymoshenko is expected to hold her first 
cabinet meeting on December 19; the Rada will return to the 
important work of electing two deputy speakers (at least one 
of whom is traditionally from the opposition) and 
distributing all-important committee chairmanships.  Former 
PM Yanukovych, now leader of the opposition, offered a bitter 
farewell message that started off with positive words about a 
change in government, but then recalled Tymoshenko's past 
government in negative terms, and predicted hard times ahead 
for the country under her renewed leadership.  We will meet 
with the PM and members of the new government in the coming 
days to talk about key issues in the bilateral relationship; 
senior-level congratulatory calls to the new PM and her 
government will be well-appreciated and help underscore the 
need to leave the politicking behind and to get back to 
business.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
Tymoshenko Gets the Votes - a Nail-Biter 
---------------------------------------- 
3.  (C)  Just minutes before the Rada opened its December 18 
session, with the vote for the prime minister first up on the 
agenda, much of the orange coalition was nearly in panic. 
Former PM Yekhanurov, the President's candidate to be the 
next defense minister and widely considered to be 
representing Yushchenko within the OU-PSD faction, announced 
to the press that he planned to vote against Tymoshenko's 
candidacy as Prime Minister unless there was a final 
agreement on the slate of new ministers.  The composition of 
the cabinet has been the subject of much internal dissension 
within OU-PSD over the past week.  The Rada opened on time, 
and then went immediately into recess for 30 minutes for 
consultations in order to ensure that the orange coalition 
had at least 226 MPs in their seats and ready to vote. 
 
4.  (SBU)  When the Rada reconvened, Speaker Yatsenyuk laid 
out the agreed plan of conducting votes -- first for the PM, 
then for dismissing Acting PM Yanukovych and the current 
cabinet, and finally electing a new government.  At the 
request of 150 faction members, the Speaker had agreed to 
conduct the vote by a show of hands/roll call method rather 
than using the electronic voting system.  The Rada's counting 
commission, normally formed only to count the votes from the 
secret ballot for speaker and deputy speakers, was called 
 
SIPDIS 
into action to conduct the vote.  Although present in the 
Rada chamber, MPs from the Party of Regions, the Communists, 
and Lytvyn Bloc chose not to register and therefore, were not 
able to vote or to ask questions or make comments from the 
floor.  Tymoshenko was invited to the podium to present her 
candidacy; Yatsenyuk read a letter from President Yushchenko 
introducing her candidacy and then Tymoshenko made a few 
short remarks, promising a strong, unified, and 
reform-oriented government, which she contrasted with a 
Yanukovych Cabinet she termed corrupt. 
 
5.  (C)  Prior to the roll call vote, Yatsenyuk asked the 
deputies to register -- there were 227 MPs registered in the 
hall, including all members of BYuT and all but one member of 
OU-PSD (including former NSDC secretary Plyushch who has not 
signed the coalition agreement), Ivan Spodarenko who is in 
the hospital, suffering from a heart attack and stroke. 
(Embassy Note.  OU-PSD deputies told us that there was an 
effort to bring Spodarenko to the Rada since he had come to 
participate in the successful vote for the Speaker, but he 
was too ill to move.  End Note.)  The head of the counting 
 
commission then read aloud the names of every BYuT and then 
every OU-PSD MP so that each could say "Za" (for) or "Proti" 
(agai
nst).  After all the BYuT MPs voted "Za," tension in the 
hall mounted as the roll call began for OU-PSD. 
6. (C) As the vote was being conducted, negotiations 
continued between coalition heavyweights, with Yekhanurov and 
Tymoshenko engaged in a heated conversation in the back of 
the hall.  A short time later, the two held a second, 
considerably more relaxed conversation.  Finally, Yekhanurov 
withdrew to the back of the chamber to take a phone call, 
widely-believed to have come from the President or someone in 
his entourage, and then returned to vote for Tymoshenko. 
After Yekhanurov (who was about 1/4 of the way down the 
alphabetical list) voted "Za," an audible sigh of relief 
rolled through the coalition ranks and the vote continued 
without incident.  Plyushch, as expected, abstained, and with 
the absence of Spodarenko, Tymoshenko got 226 votes, the bare 
minimum needed to be elected.  Tymoshenko looked visibly 
relieved and after the counting commission announced the 
official result, Tymoshenko was escorted to the PM's chair in 
the Rada. 
 
Yanukovych - A Bitter Farewell 
------------------------------ 
7.  (C)  Former PM Yanukovych was then invited to the rostrum 
to make farewell remarks, prior to the vote for his 
dismissal.  For the first part of his speech, he read a 
conciliatory note of congratulations to the new government. 
He then closed his notes and engaged in another 11 and a half 
minutes (in what should have been a five-minute speech) of 
vituperative attacks on Tymoshenko and the orange coalition. 
He said that when he came to office in August 2006, he had to 
deal with the consequences of instability left by the 
previous orange governments, and he was saddened to see he 
had to return power to those same, irresponsible people. 
According to Yanukovych, the new government augured increased 
political instability and a slow-down in social and economic 
development.  He accused the 2005 Tymoshenko government of 
engaging in political persecution of its opponents and 
widescale reprivatization in favor of its allies.  Yanukovych 
said a 226-member majority was inherently ineffective. 
Tymoshenko, he noted, had come back to power on the back of 
an array of social promises that she had no intention of 
keeping.  Food prices will rise and Ukraine's image 
internationally will suffer, he warned.  The orange team, 
Yanukovych said, was ready for bloodshed and civil war, and 
only Regions' agreement to hold the September pre-term Rada 
elections had prevented such an outcome.  In closing, he said 
that Regions supports the President and the Rada, and will be 
a constructive opposition, but will stop the government from 
destroying the economy and hurting the working class with 
populist policies. 
 
8. (C) After cheers from the Regions' benches for Yanukovych 
subsided, Yatsenyuk followed with more gracious comments, 
thanking Yanukovych and his Cabinet for all their hard work 
for the people of Ukraine. He also noted that this was 
Ukraine's first democratic, transparent transition of power. 
(Embassy note: By our count, this would be the second 
democratic parliamentary transition following the March 2006 
elections.  End note.)  Yanukovych then left the hall.  Once 
it was clear that the next vote would be a successful motion 
to dismiss Yanukovych as Prime Minister -- an act required by 
the controversial CabMin law, but not the Constitution, but 
deemed necessary by the Coordinating Council -- the entire 
Regions faction walked out, boycotting the rest of the day. 
However, members of the Lytvyn Bloc and Communist Party 
remained in their seats. 
 
New Government a Mix of Old and New, Rada MPs and Outsiders 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
 
9.  (U)  After successful roll call votes were taken to 
dismiss acting PM Yanukovych and the current cabinet, Speaker 
Yatsenyuk invited Tymoshenko back to the podium to introduce 
the candidates for her cabinet.  After introductions were 
made, a final roll call vote for the day was held, and the 
new cabinet was approved by 227 votes, including a "Za" vote 
from Plyushch announced to applause and an ovation from the 
coalition.  The new cabinet list is as follows: 
 
First Deputy Prime Minister - Oleksandr Turchynov (BYuT) 
Deputy Prime Minister (Humanitarian Affairs) - Ivan Vasyunyk 
(OU-PSD) 
Deputy Prime Minister (Euro-integration) - Hryhoriy Nemiriya 
(BYuT) 
Foreign Affairs - Volodymyr Ohryzko (President) 
Defense - Yuriy Yekhanurov (President) 
Interior - Yuriy Lutsenko (OU-PSD) 
Education - Ivan Vakarchuk (OU-PSD) 
 
Transportation - Iosip Vinskiy (BYuT) 
Culture - Vasyl Vovkun (OU-PSD) 
Economy - Bohdan Danylyshyn (BYuT) 
Social Policy and Labor - Lyudmila Denysova (BYuT) 
Health - Vasyl Knyazevych (OU-PSD) 
Cabinet of Ministers - Petro Krupko (BYuT) 
Regional Development and Building - Vasyl Kuybida (OU-PSD) 
Communal Services - Oleksiy Kucherenko (BYuT) 
Agriculture - Yuriy Melnyk (OU-PSD) 
Industrial Policy - Volodymyr Novytskiy (BYuT) 
Justice - Mykola Onishchuk (OU-PSD) 
Family, Youth and Sports - Yuriy Pavlenko (OU-PSD) 
Finance - Viktor Pynzenyk (BYuT) 
Coal Industry - Viktor Poltavets (BYuT) 
Fuel and Energy - Yuriy Prodan (BYuT) 
Environment - Hryhoriy Filipchuk (OU-PSD) 
Emergency Situations - Volodymyr Shandra (OU-PSD) 
 
10.  (C)  There is still an empty slot for a third deputy 
prime minister, who will be responsible for regional policy. 
It was intended for Vinskiy (BYuT), but he was moved to 
Transportation, with rumors circulating that OU-PSD MP 
Matviyenko is lobbying heavily for the position.  Per the 
coalition agreement, BYuT and OU-PSD agreed to split the 
cabinet positions 50/50, with OU-PSD concentrating on 
national security, foreign affairs, and social policies (not 
coincidentally the President's priorities) and BYuT ending up 
with the bulk of economic-related ministries.  The battle 
over the cabinet that has raged within OU-PSD for the past 
week nearly scuttled the entire PM vote as faction members 
expressed dissatisfaction with several of the choices 
reportedly made by President Yushchenko.  Most discussed were 
the President's candidates to be the Education, Justice, and 
Agriculture Ministers, as well as the President's decision to 
summarily fire long-time loyalist Anatoliy Hrytsenko as 
Defense Minister and replace him with former Prime Minister 
Yekhanurov, who up until now has shown no particular interest 
in military affairs.  Many OU-PSD MPs expressed to us 
dissatisfaction that MPs who originally opposed Tymoshenko as 
PM -- Yekhanurov and Onishchuk -- should be rewarded with 
Cabinet positions.  Moreover, Presidential Secretariat Chief 
Baloha had tried to install an old friend Vasyl Kremen as 
Education Minister, despite Kremen's blatant abuse of office 
as Minister of Education in 2004  campaigning for Yanukovych 
for President. 
 
11.  (C)  Comment.  The new Cabinet is a mix of seasoned 
politicians and technocratic experts.  Nearly h
alf are from 
western Ukraine, although Donetsk, Luhansk, Dnipropetrovsk 
and Crimea are all represented.  Tymoshenko has key allies in 
the government -- Turchynov, Vinskiy, and Pynzenyk ; so does 
Yushchenko -- Yekhanurov, Pavlenko, Lutsenko, and Shandra. 
According to the short bios Tymoshenko read for each nominee, 
a number of ministers, including Education, Coal, Social 
Policy, and Health, are experts in their fields; however, 
some in the Rada expressed concern to us that these experts 
had little government experience.  Most coalition MPs view 
Yekhanurov as a bad fit for the Defense Ministry and believe 
he is there to serve as a thorn in Tymoshenko's side.  Melnyk 
will also remain a controversial figure; although previously 
a member of OU-PSD constituent party Ukrainian People's 
Party, his willingness to stay in the Yanukovych government 
under the Communist quota and his corrupt ties to the poultry 
industry make him very unpopular within the orange coalition 
and suggest he was placed there by the Presidential 
Secretariat.  (Bio notes and additional details on the new 
 
SIPDIS 
ministers will follow septel.) 
 
12. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

Wikileaks

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