Cuba in Elections / Cuban Legal Advisor, Laritza Diversent

By Laritza Diversent

This 5th of July, the State Council invited Cubans to participate in the elections of municipal and provincial council members and national MPs. This convocation inaugurates the general election, taking place every 5 years, to renew the positions in the Popular Assemblies and the State Council.

Now in 2012, 16-year-old Cubans will have the right to vote and to hold office. The Island’s population rises to 11,242,628 inhabitants, according to data from the National Office of Statistics (ONE). Of them, approximately 2,118,156, are minors.

Denied the right to vote are those legally declared mentally retarded, the imprisoned, those on house arrest, and those placed on work camps (open farm). Those who are on probation cannot participate in elections. According to the data offered by the ONE, the number of people prohibited or unable to vote is estimated at 562,202 people.

To exercise the right to vote, Cuban voters must be registered by the Head of the ID office and by the Interior Ministry’s Population Register (MININT). In the last election, there were 8,562,270 voters registered and 95.9% of those registered participated, according to the ONE.

In one of the first moments of the elections, voters will elect the municipal delegates, who are proposed, nominated and elected directly by the citizens. In 2007, 15,236 representatives were elected in the country’s 169 municipalities, according to the ONE.

The date for the election of the national deputies will be arranged later, according to a note published in the newspaper Granma. In 2008, 1201 provincial representatives and 614 national representatives were elected, according to the ONE.

Candidates are proposed by nomination committees composed of members of the Center for Cuban Workers (CTC), the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution(CDR), the Federation of Cuban Woman (FMC), the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP), the University Students’ Federation (FEU), and the students’ federation (FEEM).

The Communist Party of Cuba does not participate in elections. However, most of the nominees belong to the only political organization in the country. Its top leaders are elected to occupy the most important positions in the State and the Government.

They are nominated by the 169 Municipal Assemblies that will be constituted once the municipal delegates are elected October 21, in the first round, according to the Official organ of the Communist Party. The second election will be held on the 28th, for those nominated who do not obtain more than 50% of the votes.

Elections continue to be the only predictable phenomenon within the Cuban system. The same number of candidates that are proposed and nominated, will be elected. And there is no need for electoral campaigns either. We all know that the First secretary of the Party, Raúl Castro Ruz, will be reelected President of the State Council and the Ministers, leader of the state.July 20 2012