Zelensky Remains in Power Despite Presidential Term Expiring

The US has backed Zelensky's decision not to hold elections

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenky’s term expired on Monday, but he will remain in power since presidential elections scheduled in March were canceled due to martial law imposed since Russia invaded in February 2022.

While framing the proxy war in Ukraine as a battle for democracy, the US has backed Zelensky’s decision not to hold elections. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Ukraine last week and claimed the US helped build “democratic pillars,” including “free and fair elections,” but said a vote could only happen once “conditions” are right.

Zelensky also canceled parliamentary elections that were supposed to be held last October. To justify the decision, Ukrainian officials have pointed to Ukraine’s constitution, which says elections can’t be held under martial law. But Zelensky previously made it clear that he could have held elections if he wanted.

Last year, Zelensky told Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that he was willing to hold a vote if the West paid for it and if legislators agreed to amend the constitution. “I will not take money from weapons and give it to elections,” he said.

But Zelensky later ruled out the idea and was not put under pressure by the US or other NATO countries to hold a vote. The Ukrainian leader is determined to continue the war and has rejected the idea of diplomacy with Russia despite not having a chance at victory and growing war fatigue among Ukrainians.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.