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Non-governmental organizations urge not to hold elections in a time of war


More than 100 NGOs urged not to hold elections in a time of war. According to the Opora Civil Network, they believe this idea to be extremely dangerous.

Quote"Holding elections during a full-scale war is extremely dangerous. It can lead to the loss of legitimacy for both the electoral process and elected bodies, potentially undermining the state as a whole," the message says.

Why does civil society oppose the idea of wartime elections?

  • Elections alone do not equal democracy; voting for the sake of voting is not a measure of a nation’s democracy.
  • It is prohibited to hold elections under martial law. Article 83(4) of the Constitution of Ukraine explicitly bans tenure termination for the Ukrainian members of parliament (MPs) while martial law is in effect and extends the Parliament’s authority until a new assembly is elected after the war.
  • Holding elections during a war can undermine national unity.
  • Martial law, by design, restricts rights and freedoms, while elections require their expansion and protection. These two modes are incompatible. According to Article 64 of the Constitution of Ukraine, certain restrictions on rights and freedoms may be imposed under martial law, making it impossible to fully ensure freedom of speech and press during the war, a prerequisite for free and fair elections.
  • Ukraine will face extreme security and operational challenges that cannot be addressed through any legislative amendments. It would need to ensure the right to vote for more than seven million citizens displaced abroad and within the country and more than one million military personnel. It would be hard to involve the police, part of Ukraine’s Defense Forces, in safeguarding elections in wartime. NGOs also emphasize that around 20% of Ukraine's territory is occupied or is a place of hostilities, and another ~20% is within immediate reach of artillery. This would create unprecedented and unjustified risks.
  • Ukrainians support extending the term of office of elected authorities until the end of the war.

The statement has already been signed by the Opora Civil Network, Centre of Policy and Legal Reform, NGO "Civil holding "GROUP OF INFLUENCE" , ANTS – National Interests Advocacy Network, Transparency International Ukraine, CHESNO Movement, NGO Fight For Right, and others.

The signatures are collected online using the link.

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