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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07KYIV2498 2007-09-28 13:33:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
Cable title:  

UKRAINE: PARTIES LAY OUT CONCERNS, PLANS ON EVE OF

Tags:   PGOV PREL PINR UP 
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VZCZCXRO1263
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #2498/01 2711333
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 281333Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3931
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 03 KYIV 002498 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/28/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: PARTIES LAY OUT CONCERNS, PLANS ON EVE OF
ELECTIONS


KYIV 00002498 001.2 OF 003


Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(b,d).



1. (C) Summary. As the campaign comes to a halt September 28
at midnight, all three major parties -- Our Ukraine-People's
Self-Defense, BYuT, and Party of Regions -- have laid out
their final positions, telling international observers that
they will abide by any election results that the
international community deems free and fair, but accusing
their opponents of planning to commit fraud. All are
promising to be honest and say they are looking for
"compromise" after the elections. OU-PSD and BYuT, following
a September 27 meeting between the President and Tymoshenko,
are offering key government positions, including the
Speakership, to Regions in exchange for acceptance of an
orange coalition. PM Yanukovych told the press that he was
prepared to work with the "orange parties" after the
elections. However, Regions has also emphasized that it has
a legal arsenal at its fingertips -- documented election
violations, prepared lawsuits, and lawyers stationed around
the country -- if it is unhappy with the outcome. With the
race still too close to call, accusations and
counteraccusations will cloud voting day and could set the
stage for a drawn-out series of post-election court
challenges.



2. (C) Comment. Official campaigning will come to an end
with public appearances by the leaders of the three major
parties. President Yushchenko will appear on live television
on one of Ukraine's most popular political talk shows.
OU-PSD's "top five" led a rally of supporters in Kyiv's
European Square. PM Yanukovych, who spent the morning of
September 28 in Donetsk, will participate in an evening
concert taking place in six cities linked by video (Kyiv,
Donetsk, Kharkiv, Odesa, Simferopol and Kirovograd). And
Yuliya Tymoshenko will lead a prayer service at Kyiv's St.
Sofia's Square. We anticipate that Saturday, September 29,
will be a quiet day. However, President Yushchenko is now
scheduled to address the nation at 9 pm on the eve of the
election -- an appearance that will certainly cause his
opponents to cry foul. As the three parties head into
election day, their moods are strikingly different. BYuT,
with its rumored bounce in the polls, seems excited; Regions
more defensive and focused on the task at hand, while Our
Ukraine-People's Self Defense is resigned to a third-place
finish. End summary and comment.

Our Ukraine: Reassuring All Sides


--------------------------





3. (C) OU-PSD's message in the last days of the campaign
seems to be intended to reassure both BYuT and Regions of
their good intentions, presumably in hopes of convincing the
two strongest parties that there is no reason to cheat. OU
legal eagle Mykola Onyshchuk told a group of observers from
the International Republican Institute (IRI) on September 27,
and presidential foreign policy adviser Oleksandr Chaliy
privately reiterated to the Ambassador, that they were
looking for a "consensus" option that would see the main
opposition party, either BYuT or Regions, receive key
appointments possibly including the Speakership of the Rada.



4. (SBU) At the IRI meeting, Onyshchuk said that OU-PSD's
main concerns about voting day are mobile balloting,
inaccurate voter lists, and the role of the Border Guards.
He said that an OU-PSD party observer will follow all mobile
ballot boxes, but they had no illusions that they could
control the mobile boxes in the East and South, where most of
the commissioners appointed on the OU quota were not die-hard
party faithful, and in some cases, actually loyal to Regions.
Onyshchuk also said the voter lists this year were worse
than the ones used in 2006 and they believed 1,100,000 names
appeared twice on the lists -- a problem across the country,
but found to be disproportionately high in Donetsk, Luhansk,
and Kharkiv. OU-PSD and BYuT had submitted requests to
Polling Station Commissions (PSCs), as procedure required, to
have the repeat names struck from the lists, but many PSCs in
the South and East were refusing to do so. They would appeal
to the (District Electoral Commissions (DECs) next, but
thought they would have to go to court in some instances to
get the lists fixed. He also warned that the legal
requirement for the Border Guards to cross off the lists the
names of voters who did not return to Ukraine more than three
days before the election would result in approximately
600,000 people losing the right to vote. OU would go to
court in any district where they thought names had been
removed improperly. OU-PSD has issued instructions to all
its commissioners not to sign protocols if they themselves
had not been allowed to count the ballots.



5. (SBU) In terms of the bloc's plans following the election,

KYIV 00002498 002.2 OF 003


Onyshchuk said that they would acknowledge the results of the
vote, and encourage all to do the same, and then to work for
a consensus between all major parties. To make a coalition
more palatable to whichever party was not in it, OU-PSD was
advocating giving key positions, such as the Prosecutor
General and the head of the Tender Chamber, which runs the
government procurement process, to the opposition to fill.
This would give the opposition an oversight role. (Embassy
note: Although not explicitly stated, this approach implies
that OU-PSD believes that it will be in Government -- either
with BYuT in an orange coalition or in a broad coalition with
Regions. End Note) Onyshchuk concluded by saying that a bad
election would cause Ukraine to lose a lot of valuable time
needed for European integration. They remained very worried
about fraud in eastern Ukraine, but hoped that Regions'
concern about its international reputation and the knowledge
that the West was watching closely would deter them from
engaging in bad behavior.



6. (C) Chaliy laid out a similar plan for the Ambassador. He
said there were two scenarios the Presidential team was
exploring -- an orange coalition if OU-PSD and BYuT get 226
seats or a broad coalition between OU-PSD and Regions. In
either case, they would bring opposition members into the
government, without the party actually joining the government
coalition. For example, if there is an orange coalition,
they would offer Regions either the Speakership or a Deputy
Prime Minister position. In a broad coalition, Tymoshenko
would be offered a key spot. He thought that this compromise
would be an easier sell with Regions than with Tymoshenko.



7. (C) Comment. Although OU's plan might help reconcile
Regions to an orange government, it also seems aimed at
coopting Yanukovych or Tymoshenko by forcing them into soft
opposition. This might make it harder for whoever the
noncoalition member is to attack Yushchenko during the 2009
presidential campaign, because Yushchenko will be able to
argue they were all in the government together. End comment.

BYuT: Will Accept Any Free and Fair Outcome, Watch the East


--------------------------



--------------------------





8. (SBU) At a September 28 meeting with the diplomatic corps
and international election observers, Tymoshenko pledged that
BYuT would accept any election outcome, as long as the vote
is deemed free and fair by the OSCE. She said turnout would
be high and implied that BYuT's internal poll numbers showed
it will do better than expected, while Regions may be
suffering. She said they were concerned about falsification,
especially in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Crimea, but thought
overall levels of fraud would not be high. Her main concern
was the use of courts afterwards to challenge the vote count.
Looking past election day, she said that if the democratic
forces win a majority, there will be a government within a
couple of days. Moreover, they will adopt a law on the
opposition to give Regions oversight powers and certain
positions, including possibly the Speaker. However, she
underscored that in the event that Regions and OU-PSD formed
the next government, BYuT would be in opposition and that she
would not accept the speakership.



9. (SBU) The previous day, September 27, Tymoshenko's foreign
policy adviser Hryhoriy Nemyria laid out much more detailed
concerns about falsification for IRI's election observers.
He said BYuT's main worries were the voter lists, mobile
balloting, and the vote count itself. He said that the voter
lists had large numbers of doubles, as well as dead voters --
for example, in Luhansk they had found more than 300
registered voters all over the age of 100. He said sometimes
this is a technical problem, but more often it is an
intentional attempt to inflate the lists. BYuT had found the
most problems in Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk, Mykolayiv, and
Odesa. (Note. Interestingly, later he mentioned they were
also worried about Zakarpatiya, the home oblast of
Presidential Chief of Staff Baloha. End note.) Nemyria
thought Regions would use home voting as a way to get
disillusioned Regions voters, who had decided not to vote, to
cast a ballot. It is much harder to abstain, he argued, when
three or four commissioners show up at your door, especially
if one holds a position of influence in the local factory or
school. Finally, there could be problems with the vote
count. To combat this, BYuT would look to the Democratic
Intiatives-led exit poll and conduct its own parallel vote
count. He passed out an analysis BYuT had put together of
all the possible forms of vote fraud.



10. (SBU) Nemyria also warned that Regions was working on its
Plan B. Regions MP Kivalov had published an article urging
small parties to go to the courts after the election to
contest results. Regions was amassing people and tents in

KYIV 00002498 003.2 OF 003


the Maidan and in front of the CEC. Nemyria said the idea
was to slow down the vote count and allow the Yanukovych
government to remain in caretaker status while they worked on
a new plan and quickly privatized key assets.

Regions: Legal Briefs are Already Prepared


--------------------------





11. (C) Regions representatives Ivan Popesku and Yuriy
Miroshnychenko, the head of their legal department, gave
polished presentations to IRI about how Regions was more
interested than any other party in a free and fair election.
After all, they were in the lead and don't want the
legitimacy of their new coalition and government to be in
question. They talked at length about Regions' code of
conduct that all their representatives in the field had to
sign, and did their best to persuade the audience that
Regions is taking responsibility for making this a free and
fair election. In the process, they conveyed the impression
that there is a very large contingent of Regions lawyers and
representatives in the field actively documenting election
problems, preparing to challenge any allegations that Regions
has done anything wrong, and compiling evidence of opposition
violations. They have delegated English-speaking
representatives to all the regions to meet with international
observers. (Embassy note. During poloff's recent meeting at
a Regions headquarters in Vinnytsyia, such a representative
appeared and presented "documentation" of election abuses by
Regions' opponents, in both Ukrainian and English. End
note.) They made a point of telling us that they held
training for their representatives to let them know that only
officially documented, legally viable complaints will be
accepted. (Comment: At the very least, we expect they will
have much better organized evidence than anyone else. In
contrast, in 2004 an Orange Revolution organizer told us that
it was mostly by chance -- and through the efforts of an NGO
-- that they had a database of information on election fraud
adequate for the court case that gave them their victory,
because none of the parties thought to collect this
information in an organized fashion. End comment.)



12. (SBU) Miroshnychenko said the main threats to the
election were abuse of administrative resources, problems
with voters' lists (which would facilitate voting by absent
persons), and potential bad behavior or failure to fulfill
duties by opposition polling station commissioners. He
underscored Regions' view that it was illegal for the
President to campaign for one party, alleged that the working
groups putting together the voter lists were under the
control of presidentially-appointed regional administrations,
and said Regions was alarmed by the President's suspension of
the Cabinet decrees to check the physical presence of voters,
noting that the majority of citizens who are abroad are from
Western Ukraine. Miroshnychenko claimed that the Ministry of
Interior found that 3.3 million people are abroad, two-thirds
of whom are from Western Ukraine. He noted that Regions has
collected data about violations by BYuT, Lytvyn, OU-PSD, and
Regions -- but none of the allegations against Regions had
proved verifiable.



13. (SBU) Popesku emphasized that the political crisis that
led to this election stemmed from the lack of a broad
coalition. He said Regions wants the elections to result in
a compromise among the parties, to unite the Ukrainian
nation, and therefore it was extremely important that the
elections be honest and fair. Regions could not afford to
repeat the confrontation of the spring, and he clearly
declared that the party agreed to accept any outcome provided
it is transparent, honest, and not falsified. He claimed the
party has instructed their polling station commissioners to
sign the protocols, provided they are objective, and called
on its opponents to do the same and not create any
obstacles-clearly a reference to their claim that OU/BYuT
have ordered their polling commissioners not to sign
protocols in the East.



14. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website:
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev.
Taylor