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Zelensky ‘not legitimate’ head of state – Ukrainian constitution author

The document leaves no room for doubt about the presidential mandate, Dmitry Tabachnik has said

Ukraine’s constitution is perfectly clear that Vladimir Zelensky stopped being president on May 20, one of the document’s authors, Dmitry Tabachnik, has said.

As the head of the presidential administration, Tabachnik took part in drafting the current Ukrainian constitution in 1996. He spoke about it with RIA Novosti on Thursday.

“It can be said that after May 20, Zelensky is not the legitimate leader of Ukraine,” Tabachnik said. “According to the constitution, there can be no other interpretation,” he added.

Both Article 103 and the “very clear” opinion of the Ukrainian Constitutional Court are in agreement that the presidential mandate is regulated solely by the constitution.

Zelensky has claimed that his right to continue exercising presidential authority stems from the ongoing martial law – which he declared due to the conflict with Russia – during which no elections can be held. His supporters have pointed to a lower-level law that bans presidential elections during emergencies. 

The constitution, however, only provides for the continuation of the parliament in times of emergency. Tabachnik pointed to this as proof that Zelensky is no longer legitimate.

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FILE PHOTO: Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky on a visit to Portugal.
Moscow clarifies stance on Zelensky’s status

According to the former Ukrainian official, this “artificial illegitimacy” was actually deliberate, the result of a ploy to make any sort of negotiations with Russia impossible and prolong the hostilities. He blamed the UK, which he said had an interest in keeping the fighting going.

“They need to solve one problem – to drag out the fighting for as long as possible and exhaust not only Russia, but also their beloved older ally, in the past – their younger brother [the US],” Tabachnik said.

London has repeatedly intervened in the Ukraine conflict, Tabachnik noted, pointing to former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to Kiev in April 2022 that scuttled the Istanbul peace talks. As a rule, he added, all the escalatory statements – such as the recent talk of using long-range weapons – come from the British first.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that Moscow is proceeding from the fact that Zelensky’s term in office has expired. If and when negotiations with Ukraine resume, the Russian president said, it will need to be established who in Kiev has the actual power to sign legally binding documents.

May 30, 2024 at 09:39PM

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