14ymedio, Havana, 2 June 2018 — In an extraordinary session without surprises, the National Assembly voted unanimously on Saturday for Raúl Castro to preside over the commission that will carry out the reform of the Constitution. With this decision the parliamentarians have granted the former president and general secretary of the Communist Party (PCC) the leadership role in the changes of the Constitution.
The proposal to appoint Castro as head of the constitutional reform came from the current president of the Council of State, Miguel Díaz-Canel. The commission will be composed of members from various social sectors, especially the so-called “mass organizations,” the lines of transmission of the executive branch’s power to the Cuban people.
The constitutional reform is one of the pending issues that the Government seeks to implement during the new legislature begun on April 19, when Díaz-Canel assumed the leadership of the State, replacing Raúl Castro who was in charge for twelve years. The current Constitution came into force in 1976 and underwent partial modifications in 1992 and 2002.
The reform of the Constitution was announced during the last congress of the PCC in 2016 with the declared aim of adapting the text to the changes the country has experienced in recent years, but without changing the current political system of the island. Article Five of the Constitution, which establishes the leading character of the PCC, and the “irrevocable” character of socialism, was imposed by Fidel Castro at the beginning of this century to avoid a transition from within the system.
Some of the proposals launched during Raúl Castro’s presidential mandate will be included in the reform project, among them the limitation of political and partisan positions to two consecutive terms, which has been ratified by the last two PCC congresses but has not been embodied as law. There will also be an update of the legislation on agricultural cooperatives, which account for 92% of the food that is produced in the country. The reform of the electoral system and the recognition of greater rights for the LGTBI community, including marriage between people of the same sex, are other points that will be studied in the course of the debate on constitutional reform.
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