This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said it is “irresponsible” to speak about holding national elections under wartime conditions, strongly hinting at a potential delay to a vote that normally would be in March 2024.
“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 in his nightly video address on November 6.
“We need to recognize this is a time for defense, a time for battle, upon which the fate of the state and its people depend…. I believe elections are not appropriate at this time.”
He added that “we all see how people demand to direct budget resources not to pavement and street repairs, but to help defense. That’s the way it should be.”
On November 3, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Zelenskiy was considering the “pros and cons” of holding a presidential election next spring, adding that such an event during the war would create “unprecedented” challenges.
“I think there’s no other country in the world that would even consider holding elections against the background of such a large-scale invasion,” Kuleba told a news conference at the time.
“But, we are not closing this page. The president of Ukraine is considering, and weighing different pros and cons,” Kuleba added.
Under the martial law declared following Russia’s 2022 full-scale invasion, elections are prohibited in the country. Martial law must be extended every 90 days.
Some in the West have urged Ukraine to hold the elections as a signal of Kyiv’s commitment to democratic rule.
In late August, Zelenskiy said the 2024 elections could take place — even under wartime conditions — if Westerns allies provided financial assistance and the country’s lawmakers approved.