MOSCOW, August 29. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has been tiptoeing around the issue of the country’s upcoming elections but in fact, he does not intend to hold a vote in time of war, said Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to the head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office.
Ukraine is expected to hold its parliamentary elections in October 2023 and vote for president in the spring 2024. However, under Ukrainian law, elections cannot take place while martial law is in effect, and as of now, it has been extended for another 90 days as of July. Zelensky has repeatedly stated that the presidential election can only be held after military activities are over. Still, Kiev’s Western partners insist on holding the election. In particular, US Republican Senator Lindsay Graham said that the presidential vote should be held as scheduled despite military activities. Zelensky’s rhetoric changed somewhat after that, as in a recent TV interview, he did not rule out that the election would take place during martial law, provided the West paid for it.
According to Podolyak, Zelensky’s position is that there will be no elections as long as hostilities continue. "The president has been speaking cautiously about it, but I can be blunt <...>. There will certainly be no [election] this year," the adviser told Ukraine’s 1+1 TV channel, when asked to clarify what Zelensky had said about the election in his recent interview.
Meanwhile, Podolyak said that holding both the parliamentary elections and next year’s presidential election was out of the question. "Holding elections during [military activities] means restricting the rights of a large number of people. We won’t do that," the adviser said.
When speaking about the main obstacles to holding the elections, Podolyak mentioned a lack of funds, difficulties in organizing an election campaign and a vote among troops involved in combat as well as the impossibility to promptly re-register voters. He explained that over 14 mln Ukrainians had left their regions of residence or even moved abroad.