File picture of Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in Brussels, Belgium, 11 October 2023. EFE/EPA/YVES HERMAN / POOL

Zelensky says ‘it is not the time for elections’

Kiyv, Nov 6 (EFE).- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has spoken out for the first time categorically against the prospect of holding elections, scheduled for next year, while the war continues.

“I believe that now is not the time for elections,” Zelensky, whose term ends on March 31 next year, said in his address to the nation on Monday.

The Ukrainian president called for avoiding ” anything that leads to political division” and concentrating on the “defense” of the country and the “battle” that will decide “the fate of the country and the people.”

Zelensky’s comments come days after his former adviser, Oleksii Arestovych, called for the elections not to be postponed and announced his intention to run for president.

Arestovych has been very critical of the Zelensky government in recent months, and claims to have been subjected to pressure and threats because of this.

The Ukrainian president, in his speech on Monday, described raising the issue of elections “in a time of war” as “totally irresponsible” and “frivolous.”

Ukraine’s military and security establishment had already warned of the challenge of ensuring security on election day in the midst of war and ensuring that all soldiers, refugees and internally displaced persons were able to vote.

Zelensky’s words in favor of postponing the elections – as foreseen in the martial law in force in the country since the beginning of the war – come, moreover, after the army chief, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, for the first time acknowledged mistakes in the military strategy adopted and recognized the stagnation of the front. EFE