During his visit to Ukraine on the occasion of Independence Day on August 24th, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham from the Republican Party stated that even amid ongoing Russian aggression, elections should be held in Ukraine. According to the senator, Ukraine should have free and fair elections because the American people need to see that Ukraine has changed since it was highly corrupt in the past. Graham emphasized that American society closely monitors the use of provided weaponry and financial support, and he believes that Ukraine’s next step toward democratic foundations should be elections.
In accordance with Article 77 of the Ukrainian Constitution, regular elections to the Verkhovna Rada are held on the last Sunday of October of the fifth year of the parliament’s powers. Therefore, the next parliamentary elections are scheduled for October 29, 2023. Regular presidential elections in Ukraine, as per the Ukrainian Constitution and the Law of Ukraine «On the Election of the President of Ukraine,» are to be held on the last Sunday of March of the fifth year of the current presidential term, which means March 31, 2024.
Due to the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine since February 24, 2022, martial law has been imposed. According to Article 19 of the Law «On the Legal Regime of Martial Law,» the conduct of presidential elections, parliamentary elections, and local self-government elections is prohibited during martial law. In other words, no elections will take place in Ukraine until the full-scale war is completely over, and there are several reasons for this. Millions of internally displaced persons have settled in unfamiliar places, and millions have left the country. Ukrainians have scattered across various countries, making it difficult for them to come to consulates or open polling stations. Furthermore, it will be extremely challenging to inform all these people about the registration and voting process.
In the conditions of a partially destroyed and partially occupied country, people who have moved and mixed within the country, the absence of an updated voter registry, and the difficulty of organizing and conducting elections for the state, this will be significantly more challenging. Additionally, the security of citizens at polling stations is compromised as Russia continues missile strikes, including on civilian objects. Organizing and conducting elections in the midst of ongoing hostilities contradicts the OSCE international standards set for electoral processes.
Considering the current realities, the only possibility for the scheduled elections to take place in Ukraine is Ukraine’s victory in the war by that time. The United States and its partners can expedite this process by increasing the supply of necessary military aid to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.