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Ukrainian president mulls seeking legal advice from top court as his 5-year term expires on May 20

Questions prepared for legal advice, including possibility of holding polls during martial law and legitimacy of Zelenskyy remaining in office after his term expires, reports media

Elena Teslova  | 27.02.2024 - Update : 27.02.2024
Ukrainian president mulls seeking legal advice from top court as his 5-year term expires on May 20


The Ukrainian president's office is planning to seek legal advice from the country's Constitutional Court regarding Volodymyr Zelenskyy's legitimacy as head of state as his five-year term expires on May 20.

The presidency has prepared several questions for legal advice, including the possibility of holding the presidential election during the current martial law and the legitimacy of Zelenskyy remaining in office after his five-year term expires, Ukrainian media outlet Zerkalo Nedeli reported on Tuesday.

The documents for legal advice will be submitted to the court by President Zelenskyy's Servant of the People party, it stated.

Currently, debates about the necessity of this step are ongoing, it added.

Zelenskyy's office is concerned that the Constitutional Court may respond in a way that contradicts his expectations, the media outlet said, adding that the documents for legal opinion on the issue raise doubts about his ability to continue in office after May 20.

Debates are ongoing in Ukraine over the legitimacy of the government’s authority in the absence of parliamentary and presidential elections, which cannot be held during martial law.

On Feb. 25, Ruslan Stefanchuk, the head of Ukraine's parliament and a member of Zelenskyy's Servant of the People party, said "The powers of the current president expire after the newly elected head of state takes office," implying that Zelenskyy will continue to serve as president.

However, opposition party leaders Petro Poroshenko and Yulia Tymoshenko proposed forming a coalition government to avoid a crisis of legitimacy. But, Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, called this proposal "inappropriate."

Opposition lawmaker Oleksandr Dubinskiy argued that under the constitution, Zelenskyy's presidency expires on the night of May 21, and there is no legal way to extend it.

Ukraine was scheduled to hold parliamentary elections at the end of October last year, followed by a presidential election in March. However, Zelenskyy announced at the annual news conference last December that there would be no election because of the dangers of the war.

Russia began a "special military operation" in Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. The same day, Zelesnkyy declared martial law throughout the country.

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