Zelensky rules out elections next spring and calls for unity in fighting Russia

The Ukrainian president was elected for a five-year term in March 2019.

Volodymyr Zelensky rules out Ukraine election next spring and calls for unity in fighting Russia PA Media

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has ruled out holding a presidential vote in the spring and urged his countrymen to avoid political divides, saying they must concentrate all resources on fighting Russia.

His comments in a video address came after increasing discussions about the possibility of a presidential election in March.

Zelensky, who was elected for a five-year term in March 2019, had previously avoided definitive statements on the question. His associates had said he was pondering various possibilities.

“Now, in wartime, when there are so many challenges, it is absolutely irresponsible to throw the topic of elections into society in a light-hearted and playful way,” he said, adding that “the waves of any politically divisive things must stop”.

“We must realise that now is the time of defence, 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,” he said.

“I believe that now is not the right time for elections.”

Ukrainian legislation bans elections during martial law which has been in place since Russia launched its invasion in February 2022.

The country would need to amend the law if it decided to hold the vote.

Zelensky, who last week rejected an assessment from his senior military commander, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, that the war has grown into a stalemate, warned against political rifts and emphasised the need for national unity.

“We need to pull ourselves together, avoid unwinding and splitting up into disputes or other priorities,” he said.

Mr Zelensky said Ukraine’s victory “will come if we all focus on it” and “not on politicking or searching for some personal interest” or “disagreements that will do nothing for the country, defence and our advancement”.

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