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09KYIV924, RADA OUTLOOK: POSITIONING FOR PRESIDENTIAL

May 28, 2009

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09KYIV924 2009-05-28 15:25 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO5038
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #0924/01 1481525
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 281525Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7866
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KYIV 000924 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/28/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR UP
SUBJECT: RADA OUTLOOK: POSITIONING FOR PRESIDENTIAL 
ELECTIONS 
 
REF: A. KYIV 816 
     B. KYIV 814 
     C. KYIV 694 
 
Classified By: Charge James Pettit for reasons 1.4(b,d). 
 
SUMMARY 
-------- 
 
1. (C) After a week's recess, the Rada will start its next 
plenary on June 2 amidst continued rumors that PM 
Tymoshenko's BYuT faction and opposition Party of Regions 
(Regions) are close to forming a coalition.  A BYuT-Regions 
coalition would have more than the 300 MPs necessary to enact 
constitutional changes.  Interior Minister Lutsenko's job 
appears to be safe as the uproar over his reported 
confrontation with German police at Frankfurt airport dies 
down.  Defense Minister Yekhanurov and other Presidential 
allies in the government are in Tymoshenko's sights -- she 
has held fire over concerns that quick action to remove them 
could destabilize the existing coalition.  Electoral politics 
may threaten the Sea Breeze military exercise, and will 
continue to influence the Rada's activities through the end 
of the session in July.  End Summary. 
 
BYUT AND REGIONS:  WILL THEY OR WON'T THEY? 
------------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) In a television interview on May 24, Regions head 
Viktor Yanukovych said that BYuT and Regions continued to 
negotiate a possible deal to create a broad coalition in the 
Rada and change the constitution (REF C).  He reversed 
himself on May 28, however, saying that "no talks are being 
held."  In a change from his earlier opposition to such a 
pairing, on May 27 Rada Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn said that "a 
broader coalition should exist" in the Rada.  Regions MP 
Nestor Shufrych gave the coalition a 75% chance of 
succeeding, up from the 50% chance that Regions contacts gave 
previously. 
 
3. (C) BYuT MP Valeriy Pysarenko told us that the only 
sticking point was a fundamental lack of trust between 
Regions and BYuT leadership.  He said that the closer the two 
sides get to an agreement, the more they distrust the 
intentions of the other side.  A broad coalition would be 
especially dangerous for Tymoshenko, said Pysarenko, as her 
rating would take a big hit -- Yanukovych would be better 
able to absorb any negative fallout within his base of 
support.  On May 28, a contact told us that Tymoshenko had 
ordered BYuT MP Igor Hryniv to return early from a Rada 
delegation trip to Norway, increasing speculation that a deal 
with Regions was close to being finalized. 
 
4. (SBU)  President Yushchenko has threatened to call a 
national constitutional referendum to head off any potential 
constitutional changes that BYuT and Regions could attempt in 
the Rada, saying that a union of the two political groups 
"could endanger democracy and the country's independence." 
MP Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, the leader of the remaining 
pro-Yushchenko "For Ukraine" group within OU-PSD, said that 
his group would "disrupt" talks between BYuT and Regions on 
constitutional amendments, but did not say how they would go 
about doing so. 
 
SEA BREEZE AT RISK 
------------------ 
 
5. (C)  The Rada twice failed to consider the annual bill 
authorizing foreign military units to enter Ukrainian 
territory to participate in training exercises.  Rada 
contacts told us that the issue of foreign military exercises 
was especially sensitive in the run up to the presidential 
elections.  BYuT contacts said, however, that after the May 
19 failed attempt to get the legislation on the agenda, 
Tymoshenko urged BYuT MPs to unanimously support the measure. 
 BYuT MP Serhiy Sobolev told us that Speaker Lytvyn's support 
for the measure was in doubt, as he was trying to take the 
middle ground between Regions' Russia-leaning positions and 
the Orange camps' western-leaning positions ahead of the 
elections. 
 
6. (C) On May 22, the Rada failed again to include the 
legislation on the agenda, holding an unanticipated vote with 
no discussion.  Only 133 MPs voted to support consideration 
of the measure, including 65 BYuT MPs (out of 156.) 
Surprisingly, 19 out of 20 Lytvyn bloc MPs supported the 
measure, with only Lytvyn failing to vote.  Anatoliy 
Hrytsenko, OU-PSD MP and Chairman of the National Security 
and Defense Committee, said that, because the Rada failed to 
act, it was "pretty clear" that the land portion of Sea 
Breeze would be canceled. 
 
KYIV 00000924  002 OF 003 
 
 
 
7. (C) BYuT MP Andriy Portnov told us that the May 22 vote 
was almost meaningless, as the PM was in Libya, the Rada was 
half full, and "everyone knows" that little is accomplished 
in the Rada on Fridays.  Portnov said that the Rada would 
likely take up the issue again in the next plenary week.  He 
cautioned that passage was not guaranteed, although BYuT's 
votes "would be there." 
 
8. (C) Charge raised Sea Breeze with Deputy PM Nemyria May 
28.  Nemyria took our concerns on board and said he would 
immediately convey them to the PM. 
 
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION DATE &#x000
A;-------------------------- 
 
9. (C) The Rada has yet to set a date for the presidential 
election after the Constitutional Court on May 13 declared 
that the October 25 election date was unconstitutional (REF 
A).  Pro-coalition OU-PSD MP Hennadiy Moskal submitted a Rada 
resolution setting the election date on November 22.  Portnov 
dismissed Moskal's resolution, saying it had no support.  He 
said that BYuT would likely follow the logic of the CC's 
decision and support a January 17, 2010 election date. 
Regions MP Hanna Herman told us that Regions would also 
support a January 2010 election, and pro-coalition OU-PSD MP 
Kyrylo Kulikov questioned why the issue was still being 
discussed as the CC decision "made clear" that the Rada needs 
to set the election for January 17, 2010 and move on. 
 
LUTSENKO, YEKHANUROV AND POSSIBLE CABINET RE-SHUFFLE 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
10. (C)  On May 27, the CabMin announced that it had 
concluded its investigation into Interior Minister Yuriy 
Lutsenko's incident at the Frankfurt airport and had asked 
him to resume his duties at the Ministry (REF B).  There has 
been no sustained public outcry for his ouster, and Regions 
has backed off from its demands that Lutsenko be sacked. 
Rada contacts told us that Tymoshenko was loathe to remove 
Lutsenko, an ally who runs the nation's police force and is 
dependent on her for his political future, as she would be 
unlikely to find the votes to confirm a new Interior Minister 
who would be as loyal. 
 
11. (C) Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov is now in 
Tymoshenko's sights after an internal government 
investigation led to allegations that the Ministry 
significantly overpaid for food supplies and did not follow 
proper procedure when decommissioning and disposing of 
military land.  Yushchenko and Yekhanurov have accused 
Tymoshenko of using the investigation to continue her 
"political attacks" on Yushchenko allies.  Pro-Yushchenko 
OU-PSD MP Liliya Hryhorovych told us that the efforts to oust 
Yekhanurov is but another step in Tymoshenko's plan to remove 
all "Our Ukraine" ministers from their posts. 
 
12. (C) BYuT MP Serhiy Mishchenko told us that they had the 
votes for Yekhanurov's ouster -- the Communists would support 
it -- but that Tymoshenko was waiting to solidify support for 
the move within the pro-coalition OU-PSD MPs.  BYuT would 
like to avoid the problems the coalition had after former 
Foreign Minister Ohryzko's ouster in March.  MP Pysarenko 
told us that removing Yekhanurov would satisfy two BYuT 
goals.  It would show voters that when corruption is 
uncovered BYuT takes action and "cleans house," while also 
politically "cleaning house" of Yushchenko allies. 
 
13. (C) BYuT MPs have also tabled a resolution to remove Vice 
Prime Minister Ivan Vasyunyk, a Yushchenko ally who is 
heading up Ukraine's Euro 2012 preparations, and have told us 
that the Minister of Justice and possibly other Yushchenko 
allies in the cabinet are on the chopping block as well. 
While the Communists would likely join the coalition in 
voting the Ministers out, Pysarenko told us that the 
coalition does not yet have the votes to put new ministers in 
place. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
14. (C) The Rada is working under the shadow of upcoming 
presidential elections. Electoral politics will influence the 
Rada's activities through the end of the session in July, 
including regarding the Sea Breeze exercise.  The chatter 
about a potential BYuT-Regions coalition and constitutional 
changes has reached a crescendo once again.  Whether the two 
sides can overcome their mutual distrust and unite is still 
very much in doubt.  A hobbled Presidential Secretariat, 
regrouping under the leadership of new Chief of Staff Vira 
Ulyanchenko, would unlikely be able to do much to stop BYuT 
 
KYIV 00000924  003 OF 003 
 
 
and Regions if they press forward with a coalition. 
PETTIT

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