President Volodymyr Zelensky explained that he is opposed to holding elections in 2024. The Ukrainian leader claimed his government would be unable to hold elections due to the ongoing war.
Zelensky was elected to a five-year term in March of 2019, and Kiev is due to hold elections next year. Ukraine has been under martial law since the Russian invasion in 2022. Ukrainian law prohibits elections during wartime. However, last week, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the president was considering the positives and negatives of holding elections.
On Monday, Zelensky put an end to any speculation that Kiev was holding elections next year. “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,” he said. “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.”
“And finally, the waves of any politically divisive things must stop.” The Ukrainian leader continued, “And if we need to put an end to a political dispute and continue to work in unity, there are structures in the state that are capable of putting an end to it and giving society all the necessary answers. So that there is no room left for conflicts and someone else’s game against Ukraine.”
If Zelensky decided to run for re-election, his tight control over Ukrainian media would give him an advantage. Additionally, as president, Zelensky has waged a culture war on other power centers, such as sanctioning the Orthodox church and outlawing his political opposition.
In 2019, he was elected president as a political outsider who vowed to bring an end to the civil war in Ukraine. As president, Zelensky was unable to rein in Ukrainian ultranationalist fighters and implement a ceasefire.