How do elections work in Cuba?

Asambea NacionalA general election is under way in Cuba to select deputies to the Parliament and delegates to the Provincial Assemblies.

The Cuban election system is different from all others that exist around the world, and is young institutionally. Established in the 1976 Constitution, which took effect on February 24 that year, the People’s Power structure has been in place for more than 40 years. Among the elements that characterize elections here is the term unity, essential for the protection of the country’s independence. The country is led by a single party, that is not electoral in nature, does not nominate candidates, but serves as the guiding force in state affairs and society.


The Cuban electoral system is governed by the Constitution; Law No. 72 from October 29, 1992; the 2007 Electoral Law and Decree Law No. 248, on the voter registry.

Two types of elections exist, partial and general.

PARTIAL ELECTIONS: take place every two and a half years, to elect delegates to Municipal Assemblies.

The nomination of candidates for delegate occurs in neighborhood constituencies.
– Constituency delegates are elected
– They constitute the Municipal Assembly of People’s Power

Municipal delegates, as the people’s representatives, elect:
– The President of the Municipal Assembly
– The Vice President of the Municipal Assembly

Partial elections + elections of delegates to Provincial Assemblies + elections of deputies to National Assembly = General elections

GENERAL ELECTIONStake place every five years. Elected are deputies to the National Assembly of People’s Power. That is, the country’s bodies of political representation – the Municipal, Provincial, and National Assemblies

Photo: Archive
The Council of State designates members of the National Electoral Commission that convokes the National Candidature Commission.

The National Candidature Commission is composed of mass and social organizations from all sectors of society:

Presided by the Cuban Workers’ Federation (CTC) and includes:

CDR (Committee for the Defense of the Revolution)

FMC (Federation of Cuban Women)

FEU (Federation of University Students)

FEEM (Federation of Secondary School Students)

ANAP (National Association of Small Farmers)


Municipal – Provincial – National

Compose candidature slates. Up to 50% municipal delegates + those from mass and social organizations.

Municipal: Proposed pre-candidates are discussed and approved for:
– Provincial Assembly Delegate
– National Assembly Deputy
– Other officials that these bodies elect, including their Presidents and Vice Presidents

Municipal Assembly: The body from which higher state bodies emerge. Once the nominations are approved, a process proceeds to present candidates to voters, including the preparation of biographical information for public display and the review of voter registries.

The people elect delegates to the Provincial Assembly and deputies to the National Assembly of People’s Power.

Provincial Assemblies include a minimum of 75 delegates, and elect their own President and Vice President.

The Candidature Commission consults with all deputies, and potential members of the Council of State are proposed.
1. A single list of candidates is proposed.
2. This is presented to the National Assembly.
3. The slate of candidates is submitted to a hand vote.
4. It is approved or rejected.

Then, in a direct, secret ballot vote, deputies elect members of the Council of State. A candidate must receive more than 50% of the valid votes to be elected.

The Council of State includes a President, First Vice President, a number of Vice Presidents, Secretary, and other members.
1. The President of the Council of State and Ministers is elected
2. Members of the Council of Ministers are proposed to the Assembly
3. The Assembly appoints them. Ministers do not serve for perpetuity, while reelection is allowed

The supreme body of state power is the National Assembly of People’s Power. There is only one power in Cuba, that exercised by the people, which is exercised directly through the People’s Power Assemblies and affiliated bodies.

National Assembly of People’s Power: All deputies must present accountability reports to their electors, and may be recalled. They are not professional legislators, continuing to work as they did prior to their election.

Council of State: The body that represents the National Assembly between sessions, executing decisions made and completing other tasks established in the Constitution.

1. Nomination as deputy proposed and approved in a social or mass organization leadership plenum.
2. Nomination approved by a vote of the Municipal Assembly.
3. Election via a direct, secret ballot vote by electors in a district.
4. Election as President by the National Assembly.
5. Must be elected via a direct, secret ballot vote by deputies.

– The Cuban electoral system is not Presidential, but rather semi-parliamentary.
– The President has no authority to make decisions alone, all are considered by the Council of State.
– The President does not make honorary appointments and does not name ambassadors.
– Important decisions are made in collegial bodies.


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