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Zelensky's five-year presidential term finishes - what now?

21.05.2024 18:35
Volodymyr Zelensky's five-year term in office finished yesterday, but he will continue in office, as per Ukrainian law and "despite" Russian propaganda. 
Zelensky being sworn in 5 years ago.
Zelensky being sworn in 5 years ago. Photo: wikipedia.org/President.gov.ua/CC BY 4.0

Yesterday, on the 20th May 2024, the official end of Volodymyr Zelensky's five-year term as President of Ukraine came to an end. However, Ukrainian law does not permit elections in wartime.   

On the occasion of the normal end of the term, several leading outlets have reviewed his presidency such as the BBC, the Economist and Poland's Rzeczpospolita

All recount his well-known rise to political power from the unlikely background of a satirist, particularly prophetic is his scene where he plays a character who by an amazing twist of fate becomes president. 

All these outlets also comment on his rise in popularity among the Ukrainian people during the first months of the Russian 2022 invasion, as well as his drop in popularity since then. Rzeczpospolita points to recent statistics which show that Zelensky is still at least respected if not loved - 69% agree that he should continue as president until the end of the war and 53% think he should run again when that happens.

Russian propaganda has, however, been claiming that as of yesterday Ukraine no longer has a president. Poland's Rzeczpospolita quotes Volodymyr Fesenko, political scientist, who says that the attitude to Russia at the moment in Ukraine is such that if Russia says Zelensky is not a legitimate president, then he definitely is a legitimate president. 

The BBC quotes Oleksandr Danyluk, a former ally now a critic of Zelensky, who now says Ukraine should have prepared for war much sooner - that Zelensky believed in the chances for a peaceful negotiation too long. But he also refers to Zelensky's "destiny" to lead the country in the war with Russia.

Sources: Ukrainska Pravda, The Economist, BBC, Rzeczpospolita