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September 29, 2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08KYIV1943 2008-09-29 15:26 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv


DE RUEHKV #1943/01 2731526
P 291526Z SEP 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 001943 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/29/2018 
REF: A. KYIV 1890 
     B. KYIV 1860 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires James Pettit for reasons 1.4(b,d). 
1. (C) Negotiations continue between President Yushchenko's 
Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defense (OU-PSD) and the Yulia 
Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) to re-form the Orange coalition in 
conjunction with potential new partner, the Lytvyn Bloc. 
This would avoid early elections, a goal PM Tymoshenko 
appears still to support.  Observers believe that Yushchenko, 
however, regards early elections to be in his advantage. 
Members of his OU-PSD group disagree; more than 30 OU-PSD 
faction members (out of a total 72) signed a letter 
expressing support for a renewed Orange coalition. 
Yanukovych's Party of Regions announced on September 25 that 
they had suspended formal coalition talks pending resolution 
of talks between OU-PSD and BYuT.   Some observers, including 
Yanukovych, believe the 30-day clock on coalition formation 
runs out October 3.  Yushchenko surrogates say he may decide 
not to call new elections immediately.  End Summary. 
Yushchenko Blocking Progress 
2. (C) OU-PSD and BYuT have stepped up their negotiations to 
re-form their coalition, plus the Lytvyn Bloc.  On September 
26, OU-PSD MP Kyrylo Kulikov told us that the OU-PSD 
Political Council was to meet on September 27 to finalize 
"principles" that must be reflected in any coalition 
agreement and deliver the document to BYuT.  He said OU-PSD 
MP and European Party member Nikolai Katerynchuk has gathered 
up to 33 OU-PSD signatures calling for an OU-PSD/BYuT/Lytvyn 
coalition.  "Almost no one" in the faction favors early 
elections, noted Kulikov, adding that BYuT and OU-PSD MPs 
"all get along."  The problem is the enmity between 
Tymoshenko and Yushchenko.  Kulikov posited that if 
Katerynchuk were able to gather a majority of MPs in support 
of the coalition, it could give Kyrylenko cover to go against 
Yushchenko.   Kulikov claimed that OU-PSD faction head 
Kyrylenko opposes the coalition on orders from Yushchenko and 
the Presidential Secretariat. 
BYuT Still Open to Orange But Open to Regions 
3. (C) On September 26, BYuT MP Ostap Semerak told us that 
Tymoshenko remains against early elections and will do almost 
anything, apart from giving up the Prime Minister's seat, to 
avoid them.  He was not confident, however, that BYuT and 
OU-PSD could agree on terms for a new coalition because 
Yushchenko "is convinced" that elections are the only way 
forward.  BYuT MP Andriy Shkil told the Ambassador on 
September 24 that any reconciliation between Tymoshenko and 
Yushchenko at this point is a "fictional option." 
4. (C) Shkil said that a BYuT/Regions pairing is still 
possible if it does not alter Ukraine's foreign policy or 
internal course.  He added that the only position for 
Yanukovych in such a coalition would be Rada Speaker, as the 
PM's office "is occupied."  In a September 23 meeting with 
the Ambassador, Yanukovych expressed disdain for Tymoshenko, 
but did not rule out a BYuT/Regions coalition (Ref. A). 
Regions announced on September 25 that it would officially 
sit on the sidelines to see what happens in the OU-PSD/BYuT 
negotiations.  The same day, Regions MP Mykola Azarov said 
"serious ideological differences" had hindered progress in 
BYuT/Regions negotiations. 
30-Day Coalition Clock Start Date: The Question May be Moot 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
5. (C) According to the Constitution, the dissolution of the 
Rada coalition started a 30-day clock to reach a new 
coalition agreement.  If no coalition is formed within 30 
days, the President may, but is not obliged to, call early 
parliamentary elections.  As negotiations intensify, 
politicians and government officials are questioning whether 
the clock began on September 16, or earlier.  In his meeting 
with the Ambassador, Yanukovych said that Regions lawyers had 
concluded that a coalition must be formed by October 3, or 
Yushchenko could call new elections.  On September 26, 
Presidential Secretariat deputy head Maryna Stavniychuk also 
lent credence to the earlier date, saying that the 30-day 
period "started at the moment" that the coalition members 
split. Nevertheless, Rada Speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk 
officially announced the coalition termination in plenary 
session only on September 16.  Some analysts tell us that the 
rules are explicit and support the September 16 date, but 
that any final decision on early elections would be 
negotiated by the parties in the Rada, or decided by the 
6. (C) Regardless of when the negotiating period officially 
ends, according to OU-PSD deputy faction leader Roman 
Zvarych, Yushchenko is unlikely to call for new elections 
right away (Ref. B).  In a September 24 meeting, National 
Security and Defense Council Chair Raisa Bohatyrova told the 
Ambassador that, while early elections are likely, it would 
be better for OU to pos
tpone them to give them time to work 
their electorate.  Stavniychuk echoed earlier statements by 
Yushchenko surrogates when she announced that Yushchenko is 
not currently considering the early dissolution of the Rada. 
7. (C)  BYuT and OU-PSD continue to negotiate, but both sides 
say that their efforts may be fruitless due to continued 
opposition by Yushchenko to reforming the coalition. 
Yushchenko appears convinced that Rada elections would best 
serve his interests (though polling indicates otherwise). 
Regions appears confident.   Its decision to sit out 
negotiations for now could strengthen their negotiating 
position with BYuT if BYuT/OU-PSD negotiations break down. 
October 3 could be the drop dead date for coalition 
formation, but, as always, there are varying opinions. 



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