Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he would like to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine in 2024, but this requires legislative changes, funds from partners and international observers even on the front lines.
Source: Zelenskyy in an interview with Nataliia Moseichuk as broadcast on the national joint 24/7 newscast
Details: Commenting on US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham’s position that elections in Ukraine should be held in 2024 despite the war, Zelenskyy said that he spoke with Graham personally.
The president admitted that the issue of elections in Ukraine could "split the support of the United States of America", and the argument put forward is that the US held elections even during the war.
However, he gave a reminder that holding elections during wartime is prohibited by law in Ukraine.
Quote: "The logic is that if you are protecting democracy, then you have to think about this protection even during times of war. Elections are one of the protections. But there is a reason why elections are prohibited by law during wartime – it is very difficult to hold them.
My answer is very simple and Lindsey and I came up with (it) very quickly – he was very satisfied.
Assuming our parliamentarians are ready, then we need changes to the legislation, to the Electoral Code, to do it quickly – this is step number one.
Let’s assume, I told him, you are ready to give me 5 billion, because I can't just take 5 billion from the budget, as it seems to me that this is the amount needed to hold elections in normal times, and in wartime, I don't know what the amount would be – if the United States of America together with Europe gives us financial support [then Ukraine will hold elections – ed.].
I'm sorry, I'm not asking for anything. I will not hold elections on credit. I will not take money from [what we’re spending on - ed.] weapons and allocate it to elections, either. This is provided for by law. But if you give me this financial support and if the parliamentarians understand that we need to do this , then let's change the legislation quickly...
And most importantly, let's take risks together. But how? Observers must be in the trenches. I told him: you and I must send observers to the front line so that we have legitimate elections for ourselves and the whole world. And that's absolutely fair."
Details: Zelenskyy reported that Graham said all the president’s remarks were "very reasonable, very fair."
The President added that the West, primarily Europe, will have to open the opportunity for 7 million Ukrainian refugees to vote because Ukraine does not have such infrastructure capabilities. And refugees should not be deprived of the right to vote.
Zelesnkyy says that no one has yet shown him how to organise elections for military personnel on the front lines and for refugees abroad.
Quote: "There is a way out. I'm ready for it. I'm talking about it publicly now, I told him (Graham) that I have no secrets."
Details: Asked how long this "social contract" can last – 3, 5, 7 years – Zelenskyy said that he would not like to wait that long.
Quote: "Therefore, this is probably the only way out. I would not like to imagine that we would live without elections for 3, 5, 7 years. I do not want the authorities to have the attitude that they are holding on. I am not holding on to anything, I would like to hold an election, honestly. I would like to do it – whenever it is necessary, within a year?"