Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Why will the municipal elections be different this time?

Why will the municipal elections be different this time?
DDC | La Habana | 5 de Julio de 2017 - 14:21 CEST.

Cuba is preparing for its new "partial elections,"in which Cubans will
elect those to represent them in the Municipal Assemblies of the
People's Power. This first stage of the electoral process has already
been convoked by the Council of State, and will be held on October 22 of
this year.

But will we Cubans really choose, or just vote?

Voting is not necessarily choosing, especially when our vote cannot
change anything, nor influence the destiny of our country. We Cubans
usually go to the polls "to do our part," "not stand out" or "because
it's just what you should do."

But the partial elections to determine the delegates to the Municipal
Assemblies are the only instrument through which only Cubans not only
vote, but actually choose. It is only at this stage of the "electoral
process" that we Cubans have the opportunity to directly propose, to the
Candidate Nomination Assemblies, those we want to represent us.

And who can represent us as delegates in the Municipal Assemblies of the
People's Power?

According to Article 133 of the Constitution: "all Cuban citizens, men
and women, who are in full possession of their political rights" have
the right to be elected. The 1992 Electoral Law states that one must be
over 16 years old, reside in a district of the municipality, and have
been nominated.

When can a citizen be deprived of his political rights? Are these rights
related to the person's political affiliation?

According to Article 7 of the Electoral Law, a citizen only loses his
political rights when he is deprived of his liberty; that is, if he is
on any kind of penal parole or probation.

The aforementioned article of the Electoral Law also states that those
declared judicially "unfit" may not stand as candidates to the Municipal
Assemblies of the People's Power.

None of this has (or should have) to do with political affiliation.

Article 131 of the Constitution states that "every citizen with the
corresponding legal capacity has the right to participate in the
administration of the State, directly or through his representatives
elected to make up the bodies of the People's Power ...".

In fact, one of the features of the "elections" that the island's rulers
advance as alleged proof of their democratic superiority is that they
are not "partisan." One does not need to belong to any party to aspire
to be a representative of the people. The Communist Party of Cuba (the
only legal one), is not, technically, involved.

In accordance with the Constitution and the Electoral Law, any citizen,
including one who is not a supporter of the Government, may be nominated
and elected as a delegate to the Municipal Assembly of the People's Power.

And this is what will be different about the "partials" of October 22:
many citizens who do not identify with the Government, some of them even
open opponents of it, will seek to occupy positions that allow them to
represent their communities, exercising rights recognized by the
Constitution and the Electoral Law of 1992.

This is not the first time that citizens not affiliated with the
Government or the Communist Party will run in our country's partial
elections. There is the precedent, in 2014, of Hidelbrando Chaviano and
Yunier López. But this is the first time that the presence of citizens
who are not backers of the Government or the Party (pardon the
redundancy) will be massive.

They have the right to seek positions that enable them to represent
their communities. And we Cubans have the right to vote for them.

As voters we have the right to decide what matters most to us, and what
will matter more when electing those who are to tackle the problems our
communities face: ideology and loyalty to a party or, as stated in
Article 171 of the Electoral Law "... their personal traits, their
prestige" and, above all, "their capacity to serve the people."

Source: Why will the municipal elections be different this time? |
Diario de Cuba -

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