HAVANA, March 22 (Reuters) Cubans will go to the polls on Sunday to vote for 470 deputies who will represent them for the next five years in the National Assembly.The national (legislative) elections will be the first since Cubans overwhelmingly approved a new Constitution of the Republic in 2019, and will mark the point for the integration of the National Assembly in a constitutive session that will renew its seats and determine the country’s president.
Why do Cubans vote on Sunday?
Cubans will receive a ballot at their respective polling stations that list the candidates for the National Assembly in each of the districts. There are no opposing candidates.
A voter can vote “For All” the candidates, for several or for only one.
In Cuba, citizens can also choose to abstain from voting or have their ballots invalidated.
The contested candidates elected Sunday will serve five years and receive no salaries for those roles.
Who determines the candidates that appear on the ballot?
In Cuba, 50% of the deputies to the National Assembly are selected by “candidacy commissions”, made up of members of institutions or organizations that represent social sectors from workers to women, university students and small farmers.
Criteria for selection include merit, moral authority, popular acceptance, and “adequate social composition.” While the other 50% of the candidates can be acting representatives in positions at the neighborhood level (delegates) or in the municipal assemblies, elected in November.
Candidates chosen by the commissions are voted by a show of hands in municipal assemblies before they advance to the ballot for national (legislative) elections.
There are 470 candidates competing for 470 open seats.
If there are 470 candidates for 470 open positions, is that a necessary vote?
Cuban Electoral Law requires that a winning candidate receive “more than half the number of valid votes cast in the municipality or electoral district.”
If a candidate does not reach that threshold on Sunday, the State Council, made up of the leadership of the National Assembly, can choose to leave the seat vacant and delegate to the local municipal assembly the election of a substitute representative or celebrate new ones. elections.
what is at stake here?
The new group of deputies will face a Cuba crisis. A faltering economy has led to shortages of food, fuel, medicine and power outages that contributed to the July 2021 protests, the largest in the country since Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution.
The national elections will be closely watched for their abstention rate, which has been increasing in the last few votes along with social unrest.
Deputies must meet within 45 days of Sunday’s elections to vote for the President of the Republic of Cuba, selected from his ranks, as well as various other positions of power, including the leadership of the National Assembly.
Miguel Díaz-Canel is expected to be re-elected by lawmakers as president for another five years.
Is Cuba’s electoral system democratic?
Cuba’s elections are criticized by some outside observers, commenting that they lack transparency, credible opposition and commitment to the Communist Party, considered by the 2019 Constitution as “the superior leading political force of society and the State.”
Cuba defends its one-party system, considering that it promotes unity, not division. And electoral campaigns are prohibited, eliminating – according to what he says – the corrupting influence of money in politics.
Cuba maintains that its electoral system is more inclusive than elsewhere. More than half of its candidates are women, and 45% are black.