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08KYIV2424, LYTVYN ELECTED NEW SPEAKER, ANNOUNCES NEW

December 10, 2008

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08KYIV2424 2008-12-10 16:43 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKV #2424/01 3451643
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 101643Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6901
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 002424 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/10/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: LYTVYN ELECTED NEW SPEAKER, ANNOUNCES NEW 
COALITION 
 
REF: KYIV 2383 
 
Classified By: Charge James Pettit for reasons 1.4 (b,d). 
 
Summary 
-------- 
 
1. (C) A rumored super-majority coalition of PM Tymoshenko's 
BYuT and Party of Regions failed to materialize in the 
Ukrainian parliament as the Rada on December 9 elected 
Volodymyr Lytvyn as its new Speaker.  Lytvyn announced that 
his Lytvyn bloc, BYuT, and a majority of Our Ukraine-People's 
Self-Defense (OU-PSD) had signed an agreement in principle to 
form a coalition.  A formal coalition agreement was still 
being finalized.  Tymoshenko is expected to remain as PM. 
The defection of a majority of OU-PSD MPs from Yushchenko 
helped make the new coalition deal possible.  President 
Yushchenko appears to be working to undo the coalition as it 
was made without his blessing.  Winners:  Tymoshenko and 
Lytvyn.  Losers:  Yushchenko and Regions leader Yanukovych. 
End Summary. 
 
New Speaker Announces New Coalition 
----------------------------------- 
 
2. (U) On December 9, the Rada elected Volodymyr Lytvyn as 
Speaker, filling the seat that had been empty since the 
November 12 ouster of former Speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk.  244 
MPs voted for Lytvyn, including 40 OU-PSD MPs and the entire 
27-member Communist Bloc -- the Communists explained that 
they voted for Lytvyn to get the Rada back to work.  Lytvyn 
immediately took his seat and announced that a new coalition 
would be formed by BYuT, OU-PSD and his Lytvyn Bloc.  He said 
that a coalition agreement would be finalized in the next few 
days. 
 
3. (C) Lytvyn announced the coalition on the basis of an 
agreement in principle that was signed by himself, BYuT 
faction head Ivan Kyrylenko and OU-PSD deputy faction head 
Borys Tarasyuk -- OU-PSD faction head and key Yushchenko ally 
Vyacheslav Kyrylenko was nowhere to be found.  Rada contacts 
told us that 40 out of 72 OU-PSD MPs voted in favor of the 
grouping.  In September 2008, the Constitutional Court ruled 
that factions, not individuals, make up coalitions. 
Therefore, Rada contacts told us, a majority of MPs in a 
faction can commit the entire faction to a coalition.  In 
this case, BYuT, Lytvyn Bloc and OU-PSD total 248 MPs -- 
approximately 215 MPs from the three factions actively 
support forming a coalition (a majority of 226 is needed to 
pass legislation.) 
 
4. (C) The Speaker vote and internal OU-PSD vote for the 
coalition came while President Yushchenko was visiting 
Lithuania, Regions head Viktor Yanukovych was in Moscow at 
Patriarch Aleksey II's funeral, and Presidential Chief of 
Staff Viktor Baloha was on vacation in Spain. 
 
Is There A Coalition?  Not So Fast, Say Yushchenko Allies 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
5. (SBU) In a statement released after the Rada closed, PM 
Tymoshenko hailed Lytvyn's election, and said that by 
electing Lytvyn and announcing the new coalition, BYuT, 
Lytvyn Bloc and "most of the votes" from OU-PSD had 
"overcome" the political crisis.  OU-PSD MP and Yushchenko 
ally Ksenia Lyapina said that "as of now" no coalition 
exists, as a final coalition agreement has not been signed. 
Lyapina said that if no final coalition agreement is signed 
and submitted within four days, Lytvyn would have to 
repudiate his coalition announcement.  She expressed hope 
that a negotiated agreement could be voted on "honestly" by 
OU-PSD. 
 
Division in OU-PSD 
------------------ 
 
6. (C) OU-PSD MP and coalition supporter Mykola Katerynchuk 
told us that the December 10 faction meeting was fractious 
and difficult.  He said that Yushchenko and his allies were 
working to scuttle the coalition.  He expressed hope that the 
faction majority would hold, but conceded that Yushchenko and 
his allies could be successful in pressuring and flipping 
OU-PSD MPs, leaving the Rada with a new Speaker but no 
coalition.  OU-PSD MP Kyrylo Kulikov told us that, the 
raucous faction meeting notwithstanding, the coalition would 
be formed.  He said the coalition supporters within OU-PSD 
are attempting to attract further support to their side to 
get comfortably above 226 MPs actively supporting the 
coalition.  He said a coalition with fewer than 226 
supporters would likely be challenged in court. 
 
7. (C) OU-PSD MP and coalition supporter Volodymyr Ariev told 
us that another internal battle could be over whether 
Tarasyuk had the authority, as deputy faction leader, to sign 
any agreement in principle related to coalition-building, and 
whether he could sign a final coalition agreement.  Ariev, 
Katerynchuk and Kulikov told us that a deputy faction leader 
has a right to sign agreements on behalf of the faction. 
Their position appears to be supported by the Rada Rules that 
were adopted on September 19, 2008.  Ariev concluded that if 
the coalition is delayed by a fight over Tarasyuk's 
authority, the 40 OU-PSD MPs who voted to join the coalition 
could vote Vyacheslav Kyrylenko out as faction head and 
replace him with Tarasyuk or another MP who supports the 
coalition. 
 
8. (SBU) Political analyst and embassy contact Viktor &#x00
0A;Nebozhenko said that, even if a final coalition agreement is 
not ratified, Lytvyn as Speaker would provide some stability 
to the Rada, as he is not beholden to Yushchenko.  As such, 
Lytvyn would do everything in his power as Speaker to fight a 
renewed attempt to dissolve the Rada, although Yushchenko 
does retain that right so long as no coalition is formed. 
 
Is Tymoshenko's PM Spot Safe? 
----------------------------- 
 
9. (SBU) Speaker Lytvyn announced on December 10 that the 
formation of a new coalition did not require a change in the 
PM.  BYuT MP Portnov argued that nothing in the constitution 
or CabMin law states that a government must resign when a new 
coalition takes power. Rather, a new PM would be submitted 
for approval only if the coalition chose to do so.  "There 
has been no proposal on replacing the Premier," Portnov said. 
 OU-PSD MP Lyapina noted that legal analysts disagree over 
whether a new coalition would mean Tymoshenko would have to 
be resubmitted for PM.  Lyapina suggested that she agreed 
with the argument that a new coalition must propose a PM to 
the President. 
 
10. (C) MP Kulikov dismissed Lyapina's position, and echoed 
Portnov in saying that nothing in the law compelled a new 
coalition to re-submit a standing Prime Minister's name for 
approval.  Kulikov also dismissed as unlikely any attempt by 
Tymoshenko foes to push a no-confidence vote.  He said the 
Communists were unlikely to support any such measure, and 
even a number of Regions MPs would be unsupportive. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
11. (C) The Rada now has a Speaker and can once again pass 
legislation.  The proposed BYuT/OU-PSD/Lytvyn coalition could 
be finalized by the end of this week.  Yushchenko continues 
to oppose reuniting with Tymoshenko, but appears to have now 
lost at least 40, possibly more, OU-PSD MPs.  Pro-coalition 
OU-PSD MPs are cautiously optimistic they can gather more 
support for their side to avoid any potential court challenge 
to the coalition.  BYuT is confident the new coalition will 
prevail.  Yushchenko appears to be further weakened, as 
Tymoshenko and Lytvyn have combined to outmaneuver him. 
Party of Regions and Regions leader Yanukovych are sidelined 
PETTIT

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