Wednesday, December 01, 2004


About one hour ago:

Ukraine's opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko signed a deal Wednesday that obliged his supporters to lift their siege of government buildings, but he said his supporters will stay on the streets until a deal is reached on a new vote.

After talks with the declared official winner of the presidential runoff Viktor Yanukovych, Yushchenko proposed that a new vote be held Dec. 19 to resolve the crisis over the disputed balloting.

It was not immediately clear whether Yushchenko was calling for a rerun of the Nov. 21 runoff that pitted him against Yanukovych or an entirely new election, with other candidates taking part. His supporters have pressed for a new runoff only.

The two rivals signed the deal along with outgoing President Leonid Kuchma and European envoys who have been trying to resolve the political crisis.

More details at LSPM. (If his permalinks are bloggered, go here.)

UPDATE: Maidan has details on the agreement:
    1. All sides confirm that the force will not be used.
    2. The administrative buildings should be unblocked.
    3. The expert group should be created. This group should make a legislative analysis of the current situation and prepare propositions of law change.
    4. Sides also agreed to admit political reform on the basis of Law-project No.4180; this should be done together with changes to Law about presidential elections as well as with forming of new Cabinet of Ministers.
    5. Sides also appealed to all political forces to respect territorial integrity of Ukraine.
    6. Sides also appeal to authorities of all levels in Ukraine to concentrate on crisis in Economics.
    7. Sides also agreed that the next round should take place after Supreme Court declares the decision.
Yushchenko's people will stay in the streets until the elections, according to Viktor Katolyak (scroll down through comments); Katolyak also has some details on the proceedings at the Supreme Court which now take on greater importance by the last point. The short story -- Yanukovych's attorneys have been shut out so far. In general, it seems most likely the court will invalidate the second round, and I'd be surprised if they didn't just throw out the whole thing. The one remaining concern is whether this is just a runoff between Yushchenko and Yanukovych or if it is a completely re-opened election. Points three and four seem to keep this option open.

There is a lot of danger here for Yushchenko in my view. He's relieved the pressure on the government after Yanukovych has been sacked -- but it doesn't appear he has got his date, and it doesn't yet appear that there's an agreement on whether Kuchma will sign for Yanukovych's resignation, nor is it clear whether Kuchma is still president, since his term expired at midnight. Keep me in the skeptical camp of how this is going to turn out.