Zelensky says it’s ‘not the right time for elections’ in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Monday address that it is “not the right time for elections” in Ukraine as the end of his five-year term approaches.

Zelensky argued in his Monday video address that Ukraine should not have to deal with elections as it continues to attempt to fend off Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February 2022. He previously had not ruled out Ukraine holding a presidential contest next year, though elections are currently suspended in the country under martial law.

“And finally, the waves of any politically divisive things must stop,” he said Monday. “We must realize that now is the time of defense, the time of the battle that determines the fate of the state and people, not the time of manipulations, which only Russia expects from Ukraine. I believe that now is not the right time for elections.”

“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,” he said.

Presidential elections in Ukraine are scheduled to take place every five years, with the next one slated for next March. Zelensky was sworn into office in May 2019, meaning that his five-year term is set to expire in a few months.

Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska said in September that she did not know whether her husband would run for reelection in 2024. She also said at the time that the country’s ability to organize a free and fair election could factor into whether he would run for a second term.

“It will also depend whether our society would need him as a president, if he will feel that Ukrainian society will no longer wish him to be the president, he will probably not run,” Zelenksa said at the time. “But I will support him whatever decision he takes.”

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