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 In Cuba, democracy is as it should be: participatory

Cubas electoral system is one of issues most used by enemy propaganda promoting erroneous and confusing interpretations, to the point of reporting that there are no elections on the island.

To misinform they use the old clichés like the need for various political parties, without which the election of leaders and government is not legitimate.

According to the imperial patterns, any election without these criteria is not valid.

However, the simplicity of such an approach has served to deceive and hide the real will of the people.

The virtue of the Cuban system lies precisely in those aspects that are mostly criticized by the enemies of the Revolution and are those that allow us to define them as an expression of participatory democracy.

The popular participation, beyond the will and interests of a party,, is present in Cuba in all the organizational steps of the elections, from voter registration to the official taking office and later working in his public duties.

This is brought about by the exercise of five main characteristics in the municipal level: universal, automatic and free registration for all citizens; nomination of the candidates by the voters themselves; total transparency of the elections held publicly and the right citizens have to revoke the mandate of their representative.

At this point the municipal electoral commissions, and the district, work on the organization of the elections called to elect the delegates to the municipal assemblies, whose first round will be on October 21st.

Currently work is underway in the collection and publication of the voter registry, made up by citizens 16 years and over, and the organization of the community assemblies to nominate the candidates.

The base of the institutional system are the district delegates, which are grouped into Peoples Councils, where a number of delegates work together and make up the municipal assemblies as the territorys governing entity.

The candidates, a minimum of two and up to eight, are directly proposed and nominated by the residents of the different areas, approximately 250 voters, divided into districts.

The election, carried out every two and a half years, is held through direct and secret voting and to be elected a candidate must have over 50 percent of the valid vote.

Unlike other parts of the world, political campaigning is not allowed in Cuba. In this case, billboards, posters, radio and television commercials in favour of a candidate are substituted by the publication of the candidates biography and photos.

In this document the personnel information and the virtues and social merits of each candidate are posted publicly in each community.

On Election Day, the members of the electoral colleges, also part of the community, invite the public to verify that the ballot box is empty before sealing them and putting them under the custody of Cuban school children.

The vote count is carried out publicly. Any citizen, national or foreign journalist and visitors can witness the vote count.

Those who are elected do not receive a salary for their work. Those that need to work full time in the municipal assemblies like its president and vice president, receive the same wage they received at their place of work.

All of the delegates, including the president of the Municipal Assembly, meet every 6 months with their electors, who can revoke the mandate of their representative if the citizens consider that he or she is not complying with their obligations.

As you can observe with the previous description, citizen participation, without any discrimination of age, sex, religious beliefs, race or profession is constantly mentioned in all the stages of the process.

The Cuban electoral system, which applies on the same principles for the election of Parliament and Council of State, included in the Constitution of 1976, was discussed intently and approved in a referendum by over 95 percent of the people.

Source: By Angel Rodriguez Alvarez; CubaSi

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