Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told BBC last week that there will be no Ukrainian presidential election in 2024 if martial law is still in effect, The New Voice of Ukraine reported.
Zelensky’s five-year term is due to end in 2024, but his comments suggest that it will be extended indefinitely if the war isn’t over by then. He made similar comments about Ukraine’s parliamentary elections, which are due to be held in October of this year, in an interview with The Washington Post last month.
When asked if parliamentary elections will be held this fall, Zelensky said, “If we have martial law, we cannot have elections. The constitution prohibits any elections during martial law. If there is no martial law, then there will be.”
Ruslan Stefanchuk, the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, also said this month that elections can’t happen in Ukraine under martial law, which Zelensky declared when Russia invaded. “Ukrainian legislation stipulates it is impossible to hold any elections during martial law. And this makes sense,” he said.
Stefanchuk added that if elections happen, it could “lead to the rupture of the state, which our enemy is waiting for. That is why I think the most correct and wise decision is to hold elections immediately after the end of martial law.”
After declaring martial law, Zelensky took steps to consolidate his power, including banning the main opposition party in Ukraine’s parliament, Opposition Platform — For Life, which held 44 seats at the time. He also banned ten other opposition parties and nationalized the media.