Monday, November 29, 2004

Kuchma has agreed to re-elections? 

Captain Ed cites an AFP wire report:

"If we really want to preserve peace and agreement in Ukraine, and really want to build a legitimate democratic society that we so often talk about... then let's hold new elections," Kuchma said Monday in televised remarks.

Kuchma said he was ready to seek new solutions to the crisis even if this meant
stepping outside the standard procedures for resolving the standoff.

"The situation we find ourselves in today in Ukraine demands not only strictly legal decision, but also political decisions," Kuchma said.

(11:30am CT) I am investigating this. My Ukrainian student is listening to news reports and says this is not a real offer, that Kuchma is not only offering to redo the second round but the first as well. This could take 180 days. This is exactly the scenario I thought may happen -- Kuchma doesn't want Yanukovych as much as he wants himself to be president. If he can buy six months, he has found his ideal solution.

My student also reports Yushchenko has refused this offer and is holding out for the Supreme Court decision.

The parliament is scheduled to meet tomorrow, whereupon it is expected Yushchenko's party will seek the ouster of Yanukovych along with his interior minister and prosecutor-general.

Updated 11:45am: Someone suggests that this story would have us believe Yanukovych would agree to a re-vote, but note that it's conditional on a finding of fraud. All that offer means is that if the Supreme Court says to throw out the previous vote, he'll take a revote. Of course, the Court could decide to invalidate results in some precincts and not others which could conceivably give Yushchenko victory without another ballot. So Yanukovych could be just limiting damage.

This is a developing story. Stand by for more details as I can find them.

Meanwhile --

Sergiy Tihipko, a key ally of Yanukovych and governor of the National Bank, has resigned all his positions. According to Yanukovych is worried.
I'm warning you against any radical measures. Once the first drop of blood is spilled, we will not be able to stop it.
It's no longer clear who is controlling the events there; the meeting in Severodonetsk, containing many regional governors who no doubt will fear a "clean hands" campaign Yushchenko has pledged to start, was also attended by Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov. One report I got suggests that the Donetsk government is taking all of its cues now directly from Russia.

This post will be updated through the day as details come in.