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Three Key Proposals for Reforming the Cuban Electoral System

Three Key Proposals for Reforming the Cuban Electoral System / Laritza
Diversent
Posted on April 6, 2016

Havana, Cuba, March 21, 2016 — On February 23, 2015 the Plenum of the
Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) announced that its
VII Congress would take place in April 2016 and that the National
Assembly of People’s Power would be asked to amend the electoral process
and adopt a new law to govern the general elections of 2018.

Cubalex conducted an investigation of the Cuban electoral system and
held discussions involving representatives of independent civil society
organizations to identify obstacles to full and equal citizen
participation in the political process. We consulted experts in Latin
American electoral issues to take advantage of this region’s broad
experience over the last 30 years.

In search of political openness and a peaceful transition, we have
formulated three key proposals to reform the electoral system by
promoting comprehensive elections and eliminating restrictions on the
right to elect and be elected in order to realize the constitutional
precept that “Cuba is an independent and sovereign state, organized as a
unitary and democratic republic for the enjoyment of political liberty.”
As an independent civil society organization, we are proposing three key
reforms as instruments to encourage democratic change in our society.
These include reestablishing the rule of law, democracy, political
pluralism and respect for human rights — especially for those groups
interested in participating in the process established by the PCC — by
promoting “elections with integrity” based on democratic principles of
universal suffrage and political equality.
1. Citizens would submit names of candidates for Municipal Delegate
positions to direct public vote (by show of hands) at local nominating
conventions. In circumstances in which a candidate is someone other than
one nominated by the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR),
the final choice would be made by the citizenry.
2. The system established by the current electoral law prohibits
political campaigning and restricts the right of citizens to formulate
and demonstrate their political preferences and obtain information from
a variety of sources.
These proposals by civil society organizations would guarantee citizens
the right to organize themselves into movements, political parties or
civil-political associations based on ideological and political
preferences for the formulation of proposals on public policy, the
promotion of political debate and the observation of electoral processes.
3. Currently, the National Electoral Commission, the supreme electoral
body, only operates during election cycles and is appointed by the
Council of State. Its temporary nature and designation as a political
body rather than an organization made up of professionals threatens its
independence and impartiality. Furthermore, the Office of Voter
Registration operates under the auspices of the Ministry of the
Interior, a military institution, which discourages citizens from
requesting information necessary to exercise their political rights.

Our reform project seeks to generate confidence and guarantee the
political rights of citizens as well as electoral integrity and
transparency by means of a decentralized and permanent election
commission and by charging the Office of Voter Registration with
guaranteeing the full independence and financial resources of both
institutions and of the officials which constitute it.

We are also soliciting help from the international community because of
refusals by our government to listen to us or discuss this issue. The
Cuban government responds to every civil society proposal with greater
repression, stigmatization and discrimination. We need help in opening
channels of communication with authorities. We need mediation and
dialogue. We need help in achieving what all Cubans clearly want: a
peaceful transition to a democratic, pluralistic, just and inclusive
government.

It is worth noting that on May 1, 2013 the Cuban government underwent
the Periodic Universal Exam and in a constructive manner agreed and
voluntarily promised to adopt measures to promote effective
participation by non-governmental organizations and civil society
institutions and to adopt legislation to promote human rights.

About Cubalex

The Cubalex Legal Information Center — headquartered in Havana, Cuba —
is a non-profit organization of attorneys and activists which defends
human rights. Our mission is to promote and defend human rights in Cuba,
establish the rule of law and democratize Cuban society.

We offer free legal advice in matters involving housing, immigration,
inheritance, labor, criminal appeals, constitutional procedures and the
defense of civil and political rights on a national and international
level to Cuban or foreign citizens who request it.

We can be reached by email at centrocubalex@gmail.com or by telephone at
(+53) 7-647-2216 or (+53) 5-241-5948

Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ONGcubalex/?ref=hl

Web address: centrocubalex.com/

CENTRO CUBALEX

Source: Three Key Proposals for Reforming the Cuban Electoral System /
Laritza Diversent | Translating Cuba –
translatingcuba.com/three-key-proposals-for-reforming-the-cuban-electoral-system-laritza-diversent/

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