“This is not the time for elections” in Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday, amid a debate among the country’s leaders over the possible holding of presidential elections scheduled for 2024.
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“We must decide that this is the time for defense, for battle, on which the fate of the state and the people depends, and not for the farce that only Russia expects from Ukraine. I think this is not the time for elections,” he said in his daily speech.
“We must unite, not divide, not disperse in fights or other priorities,” he further urged.
If Russia had not launched its invasion in February 2022, legislative elections should have taken place in Ukraine in October this year and presidential elections in March 2024.
But given the current situation, Kiev has already repeatedly faced a dilemma, with its Western allies pressuring Ukraine to hold democratic elections even though almost 20% of its territory is occupied by Russia and millions of Ukrainians are refugees abroad.
Another major obstacle: the law would need to be amended to allow the organization of polls under martial law, which is currently in force.
“There is no place for conflicts,” Volodymyr Zelensky justified on Monday evening.
“We all understand that today, in times of war, when the challenges are numerous, it is absolutely irresponsible to introduce the issue of elections into society in a light and cheerful way,” the Ukrainian president supported.
This announcement comes amid a debate in the country about the possibility of holding elections in wartime.
“The Ukrainian president is studying and weighing the pros and cons,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba said last Friday, stressing that the elections would pose unprecedented challenges for the authorities.