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Zelensky says he's ready to hold elections, but most Ukrainians are against it

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 1, 2023 2:23 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky in his office in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Nov. 24, 2023. (Volodymyr Zelensky/X)
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In an interview with the Associated Press published on Dec. 1, President Volodymyr Zelensky said he's ready to hold presidential elections next year, but most Ukrainians think such a vote would be "dangerous and meaningless" in wartime.

His statement comes in line with a recent poll showing that 62% of Ukrainians believe elections should only be held after the war is over.

With Zelensky's traditional five-year mandate span coming to an end next year, discussions arose about whether a new presidential vote would be held amid the ongoing Russian invasion.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Nov. 3 that Zelensky was considering holding elections as scheduled in March 2024, but several days later, the president rejected the idea as "irresponsible."

Under Ukraine's Constitution, elections are prohibited while the country is in a state of martial law.

Ukrainian officials have said that there are clearly logistical and security challenges involved in holding free and fair elections during wartime. Millions of voters live abroad or in territories currently occupied by Russia.

Opinion: Elections and war are incompatible
Had it not been for Russia’s full-scale war, Ukrainians would have engaged in a heated political season in the lead-up to the parliamentary elections on Oct. 29, as well as the presidential elections in March of the upcoming year. Despite some voices in the West pushing for Ukraine’s

In the AP interview, Zelensky also acknowledged that Russia's war against Ukraine has entered a new phase, with winter expected to complicate fighting and the world's attention diverted to the Israel-Hamas war.

He admitted that Ukraine's latest counteroffensive didn't achieve what was expected of it due to the lack of weaponry and troops.

"There is not enough power to achieve the desired results faster. But this does not mean that we should give up, that we have to surrender," Zelensky told AP.

"We are confident in our actions. We fight for what is ours."

However, despite all the setbacks, Ukraine managed to regain more territory occupied by Russia since the start of the full-scale invasion and degrade Russian capabilities in the Black Sea, argued Zelensky.

"Look, we are not backing down, I am satisfied. We are fighting with the second (best) army in the world, I am satisfied."

"We are losing people, I'm not satisfied. We didn't get all the weapons we wanted, I can't be satisfied, but I also can't complain too much."

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