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08KYIV1182, UKRAINE: RADA COUNTING DOWN TO SUMMER RECESS

June 17, 2008

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08KYIV1182 2008-06-17 15:41 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO1412
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHKV #1182/01 1691541
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 171541Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5853
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 001182 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/17/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: RADA COUNTING DOWN TO SUMMER RECESS 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary.  The consensus in the Rada across the 
political spectrum on June 17 was that regardless of the 
legal status of the coalition, the reality is that the 
parliament will not accomplish anything significant in its 
remaining month in session and all are now looking to the 
fall for change.  What that change will be, however, was up 
for debate, with some MPs predicting a new coalition and some 
predicting another round of pre-term Rada elections.  All 
agreed that the situation was really about next year's 
presidential election, although none could say how this would 
all play out in the end.  From the Rada floor, Speaker 
Yatsenyuk reiterated that he would not announce the 
termination of the coalition, but the parliament was unable 
to muster a majority even for procedural votes, and in the 
end, Yatsenyuk closed the session early and called faction 
leaders to meet for further talks.  Regions MPs began 
collecting signatures to appeal to the Constitutional Court 
about the coalition's legal status, but no one we spoke with 
anticipated that the Court would rule the coalition defunct. 
 
2. (C) Comment.  With only two more voting weeks left in the 
spring session (the Rada formally adjourns July 18), MPs 
appeared reconciled that the parliament would accomplish 
nothing significant until the fall.  What happens next is 
still up in the air.  Regions and Lytvyn Bloc MPs with whom 
we spoke indicated that a new coalition might be in the 
offing, while BYuT MPs alluded to possible new elections. 
All agreed that the current infighting, political paralysis, 
and economic problems were damaging Prime Minister 
Tymoshenko's popular ratings, but none would count her out of 
the game.  End summary and comment. 
 
Coalition Remains on Paper, but Does not Function 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
3. (SBU) From the Rada rostrum, Yatsenyuk on June 17 
reiterated his position that as far as he was concerned the 
coalition was intact unless a faction withdrew and said he 
would not do anything to move towards terminating the 
coalition.  Several Regions MPs had said in the press ahead 
of the Rada session that they expected Yatsenyuk to announce 
the official collapse of the coalition.  In light of the 
Speaker's refusal to do so, the faction began collecting the 
necessary 45 signatures of MPs to send a petition to the 
Constitutional Court regarding the status of the coalition. 
Despite Yatsenyuk's defense of the coalition, the Rada could 
not pass a single vote.  First they tried to pass a bill 
amending traffic rules, but five members of the coalition did 
not vote for it and it failed.  Then the Rada tried to add 
several bills to its agenda -- including amendments to the 
law on amnesty, a bill on housing for servicemen from 
National Security and Defense Committee Chairman Hrytsenko 
(OU-PSD), and amendments to some laws on the tax police -- 
but no vote obtained the necessary 226.  When it became clear 
that the Rada could not hold a successful vote, Yatsenyuk 
closed the session and called for a meeting of faction 
leaders late in the afternoon. 
 
MPs See Nothing Until Fall 
-------------------------- 
 
4. (C) There was general agreement among the MPs with whom we 
spoke on June 17 that there were no expectations that the 
Rada would function between now and summer recess.  Regions 
MP Makeyenko said that the Rada would not accomplish much in 
its reaming month.  A glum-looking Hrytsenko said the 
coalition was nonexistent and nothing would be done until 
September.  BYuT MP Shkil told us that the coalition was not 
functioning.  However, neither they nor other MPs were 
certain about what would happen when the Rada returns in 
early September. 
 
5. (C) Makeyenko confirmed that Regions was collecting 
signatures to appeal to the Constitutional Court about the 
status of the coalition, but that he did not expect the Court 
to issue a ruling.  He blamed the whole situation on 
President Yushchenko and his Chief of Staff Baloha, who he 
said were trying every angle to get Yushchenko reelected next 
year, although he added that he thought their plans were not 
working out.  He thought they would leave Tymoshenko in 
office for now and continue to hammer her in the press in 
order to lower her popularity ratings.  Although he thought a 
broad coalition might happen, he was somewhat skeptical 
because he did not think Yushchenko wanted Regions leader 
Yanukovych to be Prime Minister again and doubted Yanukovych 
would accept any other position.  However, he did believe 
that Regions oligarch Akhmetov was working with Baloha and 
Yushchenko in order to insure that Tymoshenko was not elected 
president next year -- although how that would play out, 
 
KYIV 00001182  002 OF 002 
 
 
Makeyenko could not say.  He also said that he did not expect 
new pre-term Rada elections this year; they were expensive 
and unlikely to change anything.  Makeyenko ended by saying 
that all would be clear in September. 
 
6. (C) BYuT MP V
olynets told us he believed that Yushchenko 
was trying to reach agreement with Regions and Lytvyn Bloc, 
with Yanukovych becoming PM and Lytvyn becoming Speaker, 
leaving Yatsenyuk out in the cold.  For that reason, 
Yatsenyuk had turned to Tymoshenko, because he saw it as the 
only way to protect himself as Speaker.  Volynets said that 
Yatsenyuk and Tymoshenko had held a meeting in the evening of 
June 16 -- he did not know what was agreed to, but he 
believed that meeting was the reason that Yatsenyuk had 
announced his refusal to call the coalition dead.  Volynets 
said that he expected early elections in the fall.  He 
indicated his faction was discussing them and he believed 
others were too.  He also told us that Baloha had pressured 
the business interests of a BYuT MP, poultry entrepreneur 
Yevhen Sigal, resulting in the MP refusing to attend Rada 
sessions or let anyone else use his voting card to cast votes 
in his absence.  Volynets's faction colleague Shkil told us 
that there was currently no coalition, and that Yushchenko 
wanted a broad coalition. 
 
7. (C) Lytvyn Bloc MP Vashchuk said that nothing would happen 
until the fall.  At that point, she thought the most likely 
scenario would be the reformatting of the coalition.  While 
she could not be certain of the composition of the new 
coalition, she thought the best format would be OU-PSD, 
Lytvyn Bloc, and Regions.  The worst, in her view, would be 
an alliance between BYuT and Regions because the uniting of 
their business interests would spell the end to democracy. 
She thought new elections were unlikely, arguing that BYuT 
MPs were less willing to stage another walkout now because of 
the expense of new elections and the uncertainty that they 
would get their seats back.  The other possibility she cited 
was rumors now circulating that the constitution would be 
amended to take it back to its 2004 form, with no requirement 
for a coalition.  Vashchuk said that the current demands for 
a coalition were too much.  It might be better to allow the 
President to pick the PM -- getting the candidate confirmed 
in the Rada would still require intrafactional cooperation, 
but without the current rigid requirements.  If events 
followed such a path, she believed someone like Yatsenyuk 
might become PM. 
 
8. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
TAYLOR

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