Holding the presidential election in Ukraine in 2024 is complicated by the martial law in the country. Ukrainian law allows for the postponement of presidential elections in such circumstances.

Russian media and social media users are actively promoting the thesis that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is «illegitimate» due to the fact that if it were not for martial law in the country, regular elections would be held in Ukraine at this time. Moreover, the propaganda claims that Ukrainians themselves allegedly consider Volodymyr Zelenskyy to be a «usurper.»

The narrative about the «illegitimacy» of the Ukrainian President, whose election was postponed due to the war, is used by the Kremlin to undermine public sentiment and discredit the Ukrainian government. Mykhailo Podolyak, Advisor to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, also emphasizes that one of the goals of this theme is to sow doubts among Kyiv’s Western partners about the legitimacy of the Ukrainian leadership and, as a result, about the viability of Ukraine as a state, as well as to demonstrate to Ukrainians themselves that they are in a hopeless situation. However, it has been repeatedly emphasized both in Ukraine and abroad that there are no grounds to consider Volodymyr Zelenskyy an illegitimate president at this time.

According to the Constitution of Ukraine, the President is elected for a 5-year term. Zelenskyy was elected in 2019 and his term of office does indeed expire in 2024, but due to martial law in Ukraine and the war started by Russia, the election can be postponed.

The Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Ruslan Stefanchuk, said that Article 108 of the Constitution clearly regulates the moment when the President’s powers end – it is the moment when a newly elected President takes office. «At the same time, the law on the legal regime of martial law has a provision according to which all state authorities continue to operate until the special regime of martial law is lifted,» the speaker said. 

Both the European Union and the United Nations have declared Zelenskyy’s legitimacy. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock emphasized during her visit to Kyiv that Zelenskyy is a rightful and legitimate president.

«Those who speculate on Zelenskyy’s ‘illegitimacy’ after May 21, especially those who started this war, are playing a cunning game and promoting false narratives to the world,» the diplomat said.

The claims that Zelenskyy is considered a usurper by Ukrainians themselves are also untrue. Despite the decline in the President’s rating, his support in society remains quite high – more than 60%, according to a poll conducted by the Rating Group. The same study shows that the majority of Ukrainians clearly do not support holding elections during the war.
Earlier, StopFake refuted the manipulation that President Zelenskyy was allegedly «ready to give up Crimea and Donbas» and the fake that the EU allegedly intends to target Zelenskyy’s illegitimacy «in the near future.»