Democratic Election System in Cuba
General Elections 2007-2008
On 20 January 2008, the Cuban people will cast their vote to elect the members (Deputies) of the National Assembly of People’s Power (Parliament) and the delegates to the 14 Provincial Assemblies of the People’s Power. The National Assembly of People’s Power is the supreme body of the State’s power and the Provincial and Municipal Assemblies are the local higher bodies of the State’s power. More than 41 000 candidate nomination assemblies will be held during the current election process, in more than 15 000 constituencies of the country’s 169 municipalities. The present election process started with last 21 October’s election of the delegates to the 169 People’s Power Municipal Assemblies. 8 176 085 electors voted at those elections, for a 96% of register voters. In Cuba, Deputies to the National Assembly and Delegates to the Provincial Assemblies are elected by the population’s direct and secret vote for a five (5) years term and elections take place on the same day in all the national territory. The newly elected Deputies elect the Council of State, as well as the President, First Vice-President and Vice-Presidents of this body, which is the State’s top representative between Parliament sessions. Elections in Cuba are characterized by all the people’s participation, thus its democratic character is guaranteed. The vote is free, equal and secret, and each voter has the right to cast only one vote. For each Cuban, the exercise of the right to vote is an opportunity to uphold the Homeland’s sovereignty and independence and to contribute to the people’s unity to consolidate the Revolution against the imperialist blockade and threats. As an ethic standard, the Cuban election process is rid of expensive and boisterous campaigns. There is no corporatization or a race to raise funds or privilege public relations firms. None of the candidates nominated in Cuba run campaigns in their favor or need financial support to be made known. There are no rallies on squares or streets in favor of any candidate, nor manifestations, nor cars equipped with loudspeakers or posters with their picture, nor electoral promises, nor television or newspaper propaganda for any candidate. Cuban men and women elect their candidates on the basis of their personal values, merits, prestige and their capacity to serve the people, at resident’s assemblies in neighborhoods, districts or urban or rural areas. The only propaganda is in the hands of the election authorities, and consists in displaying the biography and picture of each candidate at public places in the voters’ areas of residence, so that they can have information on the candidates’ personal facts, prestige and capacity to serve the people and freely cast their vote for the best. The Communist Party of Cuba is not an organization with election purposes. It does not propose, nominate, promote or support any candidate. Nor it elects or revokes any of the thousands of men and women who hold representative posts of the Cuban State. The registry of voters is automatic, free and public. All the people have access to it through its publication in easy-to-access places. Voting is not compulsory in Cuba. Nobody has to fear not attending the ballots on election days or if they choose to slip a blank or void ballot into the box. Polling stations are not guarded by the armed forces, but by school-age children. Elections take place in a peaceful and quiet atmosphere. The vote and counting are public. Vote counting in Cuban elections can be watched at each polling station by any citizen that so wishes, even by the national or foreign press. In order to be elected Delegate to a Municipal or Provincial Assembly of the People’s Power, or Deputy to the National Assembly, the candidate must get more than half of the validly cast votes. Those elected are the representatives of their electors, that is, of the people in general, of which they are also part. The democratic exercise of the people does not end in the election process. It is the people who control their representatives’ work, for the latter have a systematic accountability for their work. The people participate with their representatives in the People’s Power bodies’ decision-making process and in the activities carried out by NGOs that make up the civil society. In this regard, all those elected can be revoked by their electors at any time of the term. Cuba does not purport to lecture or suggest models, yet it proudly upholds its system of genuinely participative democracy.