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08KYIV709, UKRAINE: RADA REOPENS, BUT TENSIONS PERSIST

April 8, 2008

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08KYIV709 2008-04-08 12:15 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO6425
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHKV #0709/01 0991215
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 081215Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5334
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 02 KYIV 000709 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/08/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: RADA REOPENS, BUT TENSIONS PERSIST 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary.  The Rada reopened in plenary session April 8 
after a two-week break and immediately went into a long 
recess amid recriminations that various factions were 
plotting against each other.  However, all sides managed to 
find a temporary solution to the disagreements of the day, 
allowing the parliament to move forward.  The two main causes 
for political uneasiness were an April 7 Constitutional Court 
ruling that nullified the Rada's entire rules of procedure 
and an announcement at a press conference by Volodymyr Lytvyn 
that BYuT and Party of Regions had reached an agreement to 
raise the threshold for parties to enter the Rada to 11 
percent.  Although members of all five factions passed a 
temporary set of rules, giving the Rada a month to formally 
adopt a new set of rules, Regions publicly accused President 
Yushchenko of manipulating the Court and OU-PSD MPs told us 
privately that Regions and BYuT were making political hay to 
try to force Yushchenko's hand. 
 
2. (C) Comment.  The coalition remains too tenuous to move 
forward alone with its agenda, which allows Regions to stall 
and raise tensions.  BYuT and OU-PSD MPs with whom we spoke 
were clearly frustrated with each other, but no one predicted 
an imminent change in government.  Lytvyn Bloc appears to 
remain a moderating influence, but shows no desire to more 
actively assist the coalition with its agenda.  If the Rada 
can manage to work despite all the accusations of political 
plotting it has an important list of priorities, ready for 
votes, including the WTO accession package, the election of 
deputy speakers, and the confirmation of key executive branch 
appointments.  End summary and comment. 
 
Rada Rules Nullified 
-------------------- 
 
3. (C) In a surprise April 7 ruling, the Constitutional Court 
announced that in the course of reviewing an appeal by 50 
OU-PSD MPs of one paragraph of the Rada's rules of procedure 
(also called reglament), it had reviewed the entire reglament 
and deemed it generally unconstitutional.  The ruling 
immediately nullifies the rules of procedure.  Lytvyn Bloc 
deputy leader Zarubinskiy told us April 8 that the basis of 
the Court's decision was the fact that the reglament had been 
adopted as a Rada resolution and not as a law.  According to 
Zarubinskiy there are two articles in the constitution that 
touch on this issue.  The first, Article 83.5, says that "the 
work of the Rada is laid down in the constitution and the 
Rules of Procedure" of the Rada.  The second, Article 92.21 
says that "the organization and operational procedure of the 
Rada" is "determined exclusively by laws."  The Court 
determined, therefore, that the Rules of Procedure must be 
adopted as a law and not as a resolution.  The concerns 
voiced publicly by Regions and echoed privately by 
Zarubinskiy are that if the reglament is a law, Yushchenko 
can veto it if he does not like something, whereas he has no 
jurisdiction over Rada resolutions, which are internal to the 
parliament. 
 
4. (C) After a two-hour recess, a vote by 386 MPs -- 114 
BYuT, 158 Regions, 67 OU-PSD, 27 Communists, and 20 LB -- 
approved a temporary set of rules of procedure, which will 
allow the Rules Committee to put together new formal rules 
within the next month, which will be adopted as a law.  The 
proposal was put forward by Speaker Yatsenyuk, Regions MP and 
Rules Committee Chairman Yefremov, Communist Martynyuk, and 
BYuT MP Sas.  Senior OU-PSD MP Yuriy Kostenko told us that 
the whole issue had been overblown by BYuT and Regions trying 
to make mountains out of molehills. 
 
Regions-BYuT Deal in the Works? 
------------------------------- 
 
5. (C) Compounding the suspicions over the reglament issue 
was Lytvyn's April 7 statement that BYuT and Regions had 
reached a deal to raise the election threshold to enter 
parliament to 11 percent from its current 3 percent.  This 
story -- which periodically circulates -- was first 
reincarnated two weeks ago, when leading political talkshow 
host Savik Shuster asked Regions MP Hanna Herman if it was 
true that her faction had made such a deal with Tymoshenko's 
bloc.  Herman replied that someone in BYuT, whom she would 
not name, had approached Regions with the proposal, which her 
faction was considering.  OU-PSD MPs and staffers whom we 
asked all placed the blame on BYuT, saying Tymoshenko wanted 
a two-party system in order to eliminate her need to 
cooperate with Yushchenko.  Zarubinskiy said that he believed 
that the 11-percent deal and the CC ruling were both efforts 
by BYuT and Regions to politically blackmail Yushchenko -- 
BYuT wanted Yushchenko to leave Tymoshenko alone to govern 
without interference and Regions wanted a broad coalition. 
 
KYIV 00000709  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
6. (C) When we asked BYuT MP Filenko about a possible deal 
with Regions, he said that he was not a participant in the 
talks but believed they were taking place.  Somewhat angrily, 
he argued that if "someone" was tryin
g to amend the 
constitution outside the walls of the Rada (a reference to 
Yushchenko's constitutional council) and was trying to strip 
the powers of the Rada (a reference to the CC ruling), why 
shouldn't his faction take steps to protect itself and 
possibly even seek a new coalition.  Adding to OU-PSD's 
suspicions about collusion between the Rada's two largest 
factions was an announcement by BYuT faction leader Ivan 
Kyrylenko that this week the Rada would consider the creation 
of a temporary committee to amend the constitution, noting 
that they needed to remove overlaps and contradictions in 
executive branch functions to empower either the PM or the 
President.  OU-PSD faction leader Vyacheslav Kyrylenko 
criticized BYuT's plans as an effort to work with Regions to 
eliminate the presidency and said such actions violated the 
coalition agreement. 
 
Bottom Line: Coalition Remains Weak 
----------------------------------- 
 
7. (C) Coalition members and non-coalition members all 
pointed to the coalition's lack of a functioning majority in 
the Rada as the key factor contributing to the Rada's ongoing 
inability to successfully adopt decisions.  Zarubinskiy said 
that the coalition de facto no longer existed, it was just a 
paper majority.  Kostenko also said that current political 
instability was due to the coalition lacking 228 votes, along 
with Regions' desire to not be in the opposition.  OU-PSD MP 
Dzhemilev confided that Regions was looking to slow things up 
to underscore that the coalition could not open Rada sessions 
nor move forward on its agenda without outside assistance. 
Underscoring this lack of ability to work effectively, the 
Rada did meet for one hour on April 1 -- before declaring the 
rest of the week would be committee work -- where it tried to 
dismiss double-encumbered MPs (to dismiss current Regions MPs 
from executive branch positions they held prior to the 
September 2007 elections and to remove the Rada seats from 
MPs who were recently appointed to the executive branch), but 
could not muster a majority. 
 
8. (U) The Rada has a full agenda for the rest of April 8, as 
well as for the next two weeks.  It is scheduled today to 
consider a number of other Yushchenko-initiated bills, most 
notably the President's proposal to make the Interior 
Ministry troops a national guard under the President's 
control.  Also on the agenda, an OU-PSD law on how political 
parties can merge into one larger party, Regions' law on the 
opposition, and an OU-PSD sponsored bill to eliminate many 
deputy perks.  During this plenary week, the Rada is also 
supposed to vote on nominations for key executive branch 
positions -- Nalyvaychenko at SBU, Portnov at State Property 
Fund, Haiduk as DPM -- and on deputy speaker.  Press reports 
indicate that Regions will nominate as first deputy speaker 
either Andriy Klyuyev, Serhiy Lyovochkin, or Nestor Shufrych 
but no one in the Rada would speculate who the pick would be. 
 In addition, the WTO accession package and the law on 
foreign military cooperation are in committee and awaiting 
votes. 
 
9. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

Wikileaks

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