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Only electoral simulation feasible during wartime, says Ukrainian MP

Ukraine’s election puzzle: Can we vote in a war zone? MP offers insight
Ukraine’s election puzzle: Can we vote in a war zone? MP offers insight

In a recent interview with Radio NV, Serhiy Rakhmanin, a member of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Security, Defense, and Intelligence, asserted that during times of conflict in Ukraine, only a simulation of elections is possible.

“Can elections be held in Ukraine during a war? You can carry out a simulation of elections, you can conduct something that can be called elections, but it will not be genuine elections,” said Rakhmanin.

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The lawmaker pointed out various objective challenges that hinder the possibility of genuine elections during wartime. These challenges include:

·         Inability to conduct campaign activities: The turbulent environment during wartime makes it practically impossible to carry out standard campaign activities.

·         Impracticality of compiling voter registers: The ongoing conflict and displacement of populations make maintaining accurate voter registers difficult.

·         Security concerns: The security risks and safety of voters and election officials are paramount concerns during wartime.

·         Logistical difficulties: Assembling all eligible Ukrainian voters under these circumstances poses substantial logistical difficulties.

·         Challenges in occupied territories: Conducting elections in numerous occupied territories, particularly during ongoing hostilities, is an enormous challenge.

Read also: Holding 2024 elections possible, but with many challenges — Zelenskyy

“Therefore, this would be a mockery of the right to vote, regardless of the motives used to justify it,” said Rakhmanin.

“Once again: it is impossible to hold elections during a war, whether someone likes it or not. This is a violation of the electoral right.”

He also highlighted that Ukrainian law prohibits elections during a state of martial law. The Constitution’s Article 83 specifies that the Verkhovna Rada is not re-elected until martial law is lifted when its term expires.

Rakhmanin provided historical context, explaining that scholars once debated whether the president should be considered an official or a state authority, like the Verkhovna Rada or the Cabinet of Ministers. However, due to a lack of consensus among lawmakers and political pressure, they opted to leave this matter unresolved.

Read also: Ukraine’s security chief Danilov warns against holding elections during war

He also clarified that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s statement about participating in elections if hostilities persist was misunderstood, as elections are not conducted during active combat operations.

In an interview with the Romanian publication Digi24, Zelenskyy addressed the possibility of running for re-election, stating, “If the war continues — yes, if the war ends — no.”

He further emphasized the importance of holding elections across the entire territory of the country, including the participation of the military and Ukrainian citizens living abroad.

In August, Zelenskyy acknowledged the impossibility of holding elections during a state of martial law but expressed his readiness to make changes to the legislation. When questioned about concerns over losing in the elections, he boldly responded, “I am not afraid of losing.”

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine