.- The president of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Paya, said a letter has been sent to the Cuban National Congress calling for the approval of a new electoral law allowing Cubans to run for political office and have free elections, instead of the current system that only allows one candidate to run.
Current law only allows one candidate to run per open seat at the local and national levels, “and therefore voters are not really electing.” Paya noted that only the regime’s Commission of Candidacies can nominate contenders for political office.
The dissident leader stressed that the Cuban people seek peaceful political change and that for this reason their rights and faculties need to be guaranteed. The electoral laws and the elections process are where “this right to sovereignty” is either whisked away or fulfilled, Paya said.
“On the one hand, the law is filled with contradictions with the constitution itself and with the right to sovereignty which resides in the people, on the other hand the atmosphere of intolerance and the lack of respect for freedom and civil and political rights make it impossible for the electoral process to be truly democratic,” he continued.
The CLM called on all Cubans to support the demand for new electoral laws, in an atmosphere in which there is respect for the freedom of expression and the right to participate in the life of the country—rights for which “many Cubans are unjustly imprisoned.”
The CLM first called for election reform on December 10, 1997. On May 10, 2002, the organization presented the “Varela Project,” which proposed a referendum for change in Cuba. More than 11,000 signed a petition supporting the idea. On October 3, 2003, the Varela Project was presented to the government again, this time with an additional 14,000 signatures.