The National Assembly of People’s Power is the highest legislative body in that Caribbean nation. With its installation, both the President of the Republic and the Vice President will be elected. The opposition called for abstention as a way of showing discontent with the current situation in the country.
More than eight million people were called to participate this Sunday in the most important electoral process of the last five years. In these elections, the 470 deputies to parliament, known as the National Assembly of People’s Power, were elected.
With the installation of this new legislature, the elected legislators will also decide the president and vice president of the Republic. This will take place at the installation of the new command.12,427 constituencies were the protagonists of the process. In them, some 28,648 polling stations opened their doors and more than 200,000 electoral authorities intervened, divided into 118,000 located at the polling stations and 62,000 in the constituencies.
According to Alina Balseiro, president of the National Electoral Council, until 5:00 p.m. almost six million people went to the polls, which represented 70.34% participation. The information was released in the fifth part of the day, offered at 8:00 p.m.
Balseiro assured that the day took place without setbacks. The official preliminary results of the total participation will be announced at the end of the counting and validation of the ballots.
Abstention in the focus of the process
Opponents of the political system in Cuba have been carrying out a campaign for weeks to encourage electoral abstention as a way of demonstrating the precarious situation the island is experiencing. Historically the figures of aabstention they were managed below 10%, however, in the 2018 process, in which the parliament was elected, which in turn voted for Miguel Díaz-Canel as president of the country, abstentionism reached 14%.
According to Michael Shifter, a member of the US-based think tank Inter-American Dialogue, the trend of not showing up to vote reflects discontent in society. According to Shifter, “There may be different reasons that explain the increase in abstention, but an important factor is undoubtedly the growing disgust at the poor performance of the government.”.
For his part, Julio Antonio Martínez, a lawyer and Harvard professor, believes that the economy is the fundamental factor of discontent. Martínez stressed that it is also “a response to the political and socioeconomic problems of recent years”.
In a meeting with journalists, the Cuban president dismissed these theories. “Some people may put the difficult economic situation before their willingness to vote, but I don’t think it’s a majority.”, he defended.
Migration and sanctions on the table
This process takes place in the midst of a delicate economic context and unprecedented migration in recent years. According to the AP news agency, some 300,000 people have migrated to the United States in recent months.
The Cuban government also cannot find an efficient formula for managing its economy, taking into account the economic sanctions that weigh on the island, mainly the economic, financial and commercial embargo imposed by the United States for more than 60 years.
These general elections are held every five years, the time of a government term.
Among the candidates proposed for this legislature, names such as Raúl Castro can be observed, who, despite not holding any official position, is consulted on the core decisions of the country due to his status as “leader of the Revolution.”
There is also the current president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, Mariela Castro, daughter of Raúl Castro and a voice defending the rights of the LGTBIQ+ community in Cuba, as well as Elián González, the boy who triggered a legal battle between Havana and Washington for his parental custody in late 1999 and early 2000.
With AP, EFE and local media
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