Zelensky Refuses To Hold Elections in Wartime Ukraine

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said presidential elections will not be held in the country next year, saying that it would be “irresponsible” to do so during the ongoing war.

“We all understand that now, in wartime, when there are many challenges, it is utterly irresponsible to engage in topics related to an election in such a frivolous manner,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address to the nation on Monday.

Prior to the war, Ukraine’s presidential elections were scheduled for March 2024, but the country’s constitution mandates that they cannot go ahead until any declaration of martial law is lifted, which is unlikely to happen in the near future. Ukraine was due to hold a parliamentary election in October.

Martial law in Ukraine, which must be extended every 90 days, is next set to expire on November 15. Zelensky first declared martial law on February 24, 2022, the day Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of his country.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen at the White House in Washington, D.C., on September 21, 2023. Zelensky has said presidential elections will not be held in Ukraine next year.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“We need to recognize that this is a time for defense, a time for battle, upon which the fate of the state and its people depend… I believe that elections are not appropriate at this time,” Zelensky said.

Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Secretary Alexey Danilov has also said that “no elections can be held” under martial law in the country.

Days earlier, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said during an online appearance at the World Policy Conference in the United Arab Emirates that Zelensky was weighing the pros and cons of a presidential vote in spring 2024.

“We are not closing this page. The president of Ukraine is considering and weighing the different pros and cons,” said Kuleba.

Zelensky has said he would run for second term if an election proceeds.

The Ukrainian leader’s approval rating in Ukraine remains near the record-highs set shortly after Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country began, data from Gallup shows.

Respondents were surveyed in July and August and the data was released on October 16. A year and half after Putin’s invasion, 81 percent said they approve of Zelensky, the survey showed.

The latest Gallup result remains near to a record-high approval rating of 84 percent from September 2022. The polling firm does not state how many people were polled, but said support for Zelensky remains strong “across all demographic groups, geographic regions and income groups.”

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