“This is not the time for elections” in Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday, amid a discussion among the country’s leaders about the possibility of holding presidential elections scheduled for 2024.
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He added: “We must decide that this is the time for defense, the battle on which the fate of the state and the people depends, and not the farce that only Russia expects from Ukraine. He said in his daily speech: I believe that this is not the time for elections.”
He further urged: “We must come together, not divide, and not disperse over quarrels or other priorities.”
If Russia had not launched its invasion in February 2022, Ukraine’s legislative elections should have been held in October of this year, and presidential elections in March 2024.
But in the face of the current situation, Kiev has repeatedly found itself facing a dilemma, as its Western allies pressure Ukraine to organize democratic elections even though Russia occupies nearly 20% of its territory and millions of Ukrainians are refugees abroad.
There is another major hurdle: the law must be amended to allow voting to be organized under martial law currently in effect.
“There is no room for conflicts,” Volodymyr Zelensky justified on Monday evening.
The Ukrainian president added: “We all realize that today, in times of war, when challenges are many, it is absolutely irresponsible to raise the issue of elections in society in a light and cheerful way.”
This announcement comes amid controversy in the country about the possibility of holding elections during wartime.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced last Friday that “the Ukrainian president is studying and weighing the pros and cons,” stressing that the elections will pose unprecedented challenges to the authorities.