Cuba says all 470 candidates on Sunday´s ballot elected to National Assembly

FILE PHOTO: A woman prepares her vote at a polling station during the legislative elections in Havana, Cuba, March 26, 2023. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba said on Monday that voters over the weekend had elected all 470 candidates for the National Assembly, in elections in which there were no opposition candidates.

Election officials said Monday that the initial turnout was 75.92%, topping participation in municipal elections in November and a referendum on the Cuban family code, which legalized gay marriage, in September.

"We want to thank our people...for participating in a massive way in this electoral process of transcendental importance for the present and the future of the nation," Alina Balseiro, president of Cuba´s National Electoral Council, said on state-run TV.

Participation in Sunday's election was widely seen by both pro- and anti-government groups as a proxy for gauging support for Cuba's communist leadership at a time of deep economic crisis and growing social unrest.

Though three of every four Cubans voted Sunday, that rate was still nearly 10 percentage points below participation in 2018 legislative elections and well below all previous elections under late President Fidel Castro, when nearly every Cuban of voting age typically cast a ballot.

Opposition groups, primarily outside of Cuba, had encouraged voters to stay home in protest, saying the election had no meaning in a one-party system with no formal opposition or international oversight.

Cuba monitors its own elections and does not allow independent, international observers to follow the proceedings.

The lawmakers elected Sunday will serve for five years. In their first session, slated for April, they will choose the next president of Cuba from among their ranks.

Sitting President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who won a seat in the legislature on Sunday, is widely expected to be re-elected by lawmakers.

The new crop of lawmakers is also expected to pass laws governing controversial issues including the regulation of the press, and the right to protest in Cuba.

Balseiro said 72% of voters had chosen an option on ballots that allowed them to vote for all the candidates in one go, meaning that the 470 contenders were all elected.

The 470 candidates on Sunday´s paper ballot were vying for 470 open seats in the legislature. In order to win a place in the National Assembly, a candidate had to receive more than half the votes of those who cast ballots.

"These preliminary results validate the election of the 470 candidates proposed as deputies to the (National Assembly), {each} with more than 50% of the valid votes cast," Balseiro told a news conference attended by state-run media.

Officials said just over 90% of votes cast had been deemed valid, with 6.2% left blank and 3.5% annulled.

(Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Alistair Bell)

Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In World

No apparent agreement on protecting Russian-held Ukrainian nuclear plant
Ukraine war comes to Moscow as drones strike both capitals
7 die from suspected alcohol poisoning in Morocco: police
Roundup: Eyes on value of Turkish currency after presidential election
Interview: U.S. ecological philosopher calls for urgent global efforts to address plastic pollution
Track laying starts on Chinese-built Hungarian section of Budapest-Belgrade railway
WTI crude futures settle lower
U.S. dollar ticks down
Gold rises as U.S. treasury yields fall
First high-speed railroad in Russia to connect Moscow, St. Petersburg

Others Also Read