To Save Democracy, Zelensky Will Push Elections
State of the Union: Will Russia host elections before Ukraine?
In case you didn’t already know, Russian President Vladimir Putin is a dictator.
He’s such a mean, bad dictator that Chris Christie, known for being fat first, the former governor of New Jersey second, and a (twice) failed presidential candidate third, proclaimed at a recent town hall in New Hampshire that “if you don’t think Putin is as bad as Hitler, you’re wrong.”
Ukraine stans and democracy fans will tell you that Putin is Sauron, Darth Vader, and Voldemort all rolled up into one. Which is why some were cheering on Wagner mercenaries in what they believed was an attempted coup.
Has to be a little awkward then that Putin will likely answer to his people in elections before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky answers to his.
In a recent interview with the BBC, Zelensky reaffirmed that there will not be elections in Ukraine until the war comes to an end. “Elections must take place in peacetime, when there is no war, according to the law. I really want there to be peace in the next year, and life to be as it was before the war.”
Parliamentary elections are supposed to take place in October of this year, and the presidential election in the spring of 2024. But with no end to this war in sight, it appears that Zelensky’s declaration of martial law, issued and approved by the Verkhovna Rada on Feb. 24, 2022, will remain. The Verkhovna Rada has extended Zelensky’s martial law declaration several times, most recently in early May.
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What Zelensky told the Washington Post in May, “the constitution [of Ukraine] prohibits any elections during martial law,” is correct. The current Ukrainian constitution, adopted initially in 1996, forbids elections while martial law or a state of emergency has been declared.
It’s difficult to say who could challenge Zelensky’s Servant of the People party (Zelensky has indicated that he will not run for reelection). Zelensky has already banned the largest opposition party, Opposition Platform—For Life and ten other parties declared “anti-Ukrainian” and “collaborationist.” Can we drop the charade that Ukraine is the lynchpin of the democratic world without which all democracies will crumble under the jackboot of Putin's Russia?
As for the Russian presidential election, that’s expected to go forward as planned in March of 2024. “But the election will be rigged!” screams the self-identifying democracy lover. In the words of one former president, “you’re telling me now for the first time.”