Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday he did not believe it was the right time for elections, as the country’s leaders debated the possibility of a presidential election in 2024.
All elections, including the presidential election scheduled to take place next spring, are technically canceled due to martial law that has been in effect since the war began last year.
“We must decide that now is the time of defense, the time of struggle, on which the fate of the state and the people depends,” Zelensky said in his daily address.
He said it was time for the country to be united and not divided, adding: “I believe that now is not the (right) time for elections.”
Ukraine’s foreign minister said last week that Zelensky was “weighing up” whether it would be possible to hold elections next year in the face of the Russian invasion.
He warned that it would be difficult to hold elections due to the large number of Ukrainians abroad and soldiers fighting on the front lines.
The parliamentary elections that would have taken place last month were also canceled due to the war.
Zelensky, who was elected in 2019, said in September he was “ready” to hold elections if necessary and supported monitoring the vote by international observers.
The Ukrainian leader’s approval rating skyrocketed after the war began, but the country’s political landscape remained unsettled despite the unifying power of the war.
Former presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich announced this week he would run against his former boss after criticizing Zelensky over the slow pace of the country’s counteroffensive.
The sprawling front line between the two warring sides has barely moved in almost a year, although Ukraine launched a counteroffensive to retake Russian-held territory back in June.
On Monday, Zelensky said Ukrainian forces had successfully destroyed a large Russian ship at the Kerch shipyard in annexed Crimea.
The Ukrainian president has met regularly with Western leaders to try to expand air defenses and ease international fatigue with the conflict, which has now lasted more than 600 days.
Zelensky also had to deny that the conflict had reached an impasse, but admitted on Sunday that it had reached a “difficult situation.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Source : www.ndtv.com