Cuba A new electoral cycle begins this Sunday with the election of neighborhood delegates from all over the country. The process will culminate next year with the renewal of the National Assembly and the election, by parliament, of the President of the Republic.
The Cuban electoral system presents a good list of its own characteristics that deserve an X-ray: from the nomination assemblies, to the role of the delegates, through the indirect election of the country’s president and the options of independent candidates.
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Some 8 million Cubans are summoned to the polls for these elections. They have to be at least 16 years old and vote at their place of permanent residence. Cubans abroad cannot exercise the right to active suffrage. On Sunday 22,205 young people will be able to participate in the elections for the first time.
WHO SHOWS UP?
The National Electoral Commission (CEN) has registered 26,746 candidates for the 12,427 constituencies in the country. In each one, only one chosen will result. You must get 50% plus one of the votes; if not, there will be a second round (December 4). 23,480 polling stations have been set up.
According to official data, among the candidates there are 18,621 who are militants in the ruling Communist Party of Cuba (PCC, the only legal one) or in the Union of Young Communists, 70%. In addition, 44% are women, 7% are young and only 27% choose to repeat their position.
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HOW ARE DELEGATES SELECTED?
Delegates are elected by direct and secret vote of their neighbors. There must be between two and eight candidates per constituency. Only one voted. More than 180,000 electoral authorities are involved in the process, in addition to 1,400 supervisors and 24,000 collaborators.
The candidacies must be previously approved in a nomination assembly. These appointments, of an informal nature and coordinated by organizations in the orbit of the PCC, have been criticized by activists and opponents. At least three independent candidates have assured EFE that they were not allowed to attend the meeting.
Few opponents have won a nomination in previous elections. In these so far, only the nomination of the independent José Antonio Cabrera, a 30-year-old baker from Palma Soriano (east) has emerged.
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WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE DELEGATE?
According to the Cuban Constitution, the function of the delegate is similar to that of the neighborhood councilor. Neighbors choose them to solve day-to-day problems and complaints. They are positions of close attention and direct management.
The delegates also make up the Municipal Assembly of People’s Power, the highest local legislative body. Among them they choose their president and the rest of the positions of the organization.
Among the functions of this assembly is the election from among its members of members for the Provincial Council -the next administrative level- and the implementation of a Nominations Commission, which selects candidates for the National Assembly of People’s Power (ANPP). , the Cuban unicameral parliament.
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WHAT IS THE CAMPAIGN LIKE?
Electoral campaigns are prohibited in Cuba. The authorities brand them as harmful, because they consider that the money of the candidates prevails over their merits.
In return, in the most crowded places in the neighborhoods, a brief biography with a photo of each of the candidates is displayed. These do not include program or proposals.
The situation is very different from that before the September referendum, in which the Government and State institutions launched an intense campaign in state media and social networks to promote the “yes” vote.
Dissidents and activists have, however, advocated abstention on social networks, as a way of expressing rejection of the system in a quantifiable way.
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HOW DOES THE ELECTION CYCLE FOLLOW?
In 2023, Cuba is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections, the second part of this electoral cycle. The candidates are selected, almost in equal parts, by associations from the orbit of the PCC and the Candidacy Commissions of the Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power.
The Cuban National Assembly has among its main powers to appoint the President of the Republic, a position to which the incumbent, Miguel Díaz-Canel, can run for a second term.
When the President of the Republic is elected for a period of five years, Cuba will have renewed in less than a year the main positions of its three administrative levels (municipal, provincial and national), although power in the institutions will continue to be held by the CCP.
According to the 2019 Constitution, the “socialist character” of the political system is “irrevocable”.