A Simple Proposal for Elections / 14ymedio, Regina Coyula

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Regina Coyula, Havana, 16 March 2015 – I always heard Ricardo Alarcon repeat, during his time as President of the National Assembly of People’s Power, that the Cuban electoral system was the most democratic in the world. The truth is that the weighted advantages of this system not only have never been demonstrated, but it finds itself under challenge with the announcement of a new electoral law.

Democracy is not only the government of the people and the enormous role of the citizenry in moving forward, to later discover that a Nominating Committee chosen by the Party or the Government has included a series of names which, not by coincidence, are the figures who lead the country.

Democracy is also the aspiration for a good government of the people, and not this almost forty-year-old institutionalized formula in which the people are subject to the government and must carry out its will. Instead of a head of state-constituent relationship that is only practiced through voice and show of hand “debates,” what needs to be done is to submit a referendum to the ballot box.

Cubans interested in politics are following the issue closely, because over the years the limitations of our electoral law – which restricts the right to vote of Cubans who live outside the Island – have become clear. In addition to the political fidelity of a candidate, people want to know his or her abilities and proposals to improve government management; and democracy also includes the right to elect via direct and secret vote the top leaders of the nation. These and other modifications are leading a process of discussion and approval that apparently will culminate in a new electoral law planned for 2018.

As pointed out by civil society and the citizenry with regards to modifications of the electoral law, parts of the law need to be repealed and new measures need to be implemented, even with impacts on the Constitution; thus, in the upcoming April elections, nothing new will happen. But there is an action that can be taken without need for amendments, one which would speak to transparency which has always been questioned in the People’s Power elections.

It would be an act of transparency on the part of the government, which has always handled with absolute secrecy the breakdown of the numbers

Such action has to do with the results of the voting, which citizens learn through the consolidation published in the press and from the immediate data in their electoral college.

The proposal is simple: starting from these elections publish a tabloid with the detailed information by precinct or electoral college, circumscription, municipality or province, up to the consolidation of national information. In this way any citizen can know the vote totals for any electoral college in the country. This tabloid can be sold on newsstands and offered to subscribers. It can also appear on the digital site of the National Bureau of Statistics and the National Assembly of People’s Power.

It would be an act of transparency on the part of the government, which has always handled with absolute secrecy the breakdown of the numbers, and it would allow everyone to compare what they observed on election day voting in their electoral college with the published results. Nobody could speak subjectively, since the figures would speak for themselves.

Taking care to previously verify one’s name and details on the voters list.