New Cuban election law is far from real reform, activist group says

The flag of Cuba Credit  Norma Monette via Flickr CC BY NC 20 Norma Monette via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

The Christian Liberation Movement denounced the election reform law recently passed by Cuba's National Assembly, charging that it still allows the Communist Party to determine the candidates in major elections.

On July 13, the National Assembly of Cuba unanimously approved a new election law, restoring the position of prime minister, which was eliminated in the 1976 Constitution.

The law also states that the president governs the republic, rather than the Council of State.

Presidential elections will take place in Cuba this October. Incumbent Miguel Diaz-Canel is expected to remain in power.

The president will then name a prime minister, chosen from among the members of the Assembly. The prime minister must be confirmed by the National Assembly, whose number of legislators will be reduced from 605 to 474 by the new law.

Direct nominations in Cuba take place only at the municipal level. For all other elections, candidates are appointed by commissions, which are supervised by the Communist Party, the only political party permitted on the island nation.

In their statement, the Christian Liberation Movement called the new law a "fake change" in the system. The election process remains "exclusionary and monopolizing" and is "totally divorced from the right to freedom," the reform advocacy group said.

"The law that was passed maintains the control of the Communist Party over the nomination of the candidates through the candidacy commissions, run by the so called 'organizations of the masses' (all of them dependent on the Communist Party)," they said.

"That is the fundamental element of the fraud - to make believe that there is freedom to nominate from the grassroots, when it is already decided by the Communist Party which candidacy may or may not go forward."

The Christian Liberation Movement has called for the elimination of the Communist candidacy commissions, so as to allow for truly free elections.

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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