OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE

1:00 p.m. Just announced: The plenary session will resume tomorrow, April 19. Granma ends its coverage of events today and will resume reporting tomorrow, April 19, from the Havana International Conference Center.

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12:11 p.m. Esteban Lazo explains that deputies have been provided with biographies of candidates for positions on the Council of State. He also noted that before they vote, deputies have an hour to review the documents during which they are not permitted to leave the hall.

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9na LEGISLATURA

12:10 p.m. The National Electoral Commission calls on deputies to exercise their right to vote.

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11: 55 a.m. Nominations for the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba announced.

List of nominees:

Miguel Mario Díaz Canel Bermúdez, nominated for President of the Council of State of Cuba

Age: 57

Education: University

Occupation: Member of the Communist Party of Cuba Political Bureau and First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba

Organizations to which he is affiliated: PCC, CDR

Díaz Canelhas held positions in the FEEM and FEU.

Salvador Valdés Mesa, nominated for First Vice President

Age: 72

Education: University

Occupation: Party Political Bureau member, Council of State Vice President.

Organizations to which he is affiliated: PCC, CTC, CDR

Valdés Mesa has held a range of positions in local People’s Power bodies, the Communist Party of Cuba, Cuban Workers Federation (CTC), where he served as second secretary; he was also Secretary General of the National Agricultural and Forestry Workers Trade Union, Minister of Labor and Social Security and First Secretary of the Party Provincial Committee in Camagüey.

Ramiro Valdés Menéndez, nominated for Vice President

Age: 85

Education: University

Occupation: Comandante of the Revolution, member of the Party Political Bureau and a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers

Organizations to which he is affiliated: PCC, CDR, ACRC

Valdés Menéndez participated in the attack on the Moncada garrison, Granma expedition, and fought in, and was promoted to commander of the Rebel Army. After the triumph of the Revolution he served as second-in-command at La Cabaña headquarters, military commander of the central region, and head of State Security bodies. He has occupied the roles of Minister of the Interior, first deputy minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, assistant to the Comandante en Jefe, deputy prime minister of Construction, minister of Computer Sciences and Communications, and a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers. Valdés Menéndez is also a founding member of the Party Central Committee and its Political Bureau. He has carried out important responsibilities of an official, political and economic nature, such as the search for, and return to Cuba of the remains of Che and his compañeros in Bolivia. Valdés Menéndez is a decorated Hero of the Republic of Cuba.

Roberto Tomás Morales Ojeda, nominated for Vice president

Age: 50

Education: University

Occupation: A member of the Party Political Bureau and Minister of Public Health.

Organizations to which he is affiliated: PCC, CTC, CDR

Morales Ojeda is a doctor with a Masters Degree in Public Health. He began working at the Rodas polyclinic, before serving as municipal health director in Rodas and Cienfuegos, as well as first deputy minister of Health. He has also held various positions within the Party such as first secretary of the organization’s Provincial Committee in Cienfuegos and is a member of the Central Committee Secretariat.

Gladys María Bejerano Portela, nominated for Vice president

Age: 71

Education: University

Occupation: Comptroller General of the Republic of Cuba

Organizations to which she is affiliated: PCC, CTC, CDR, FMC

Bejerano Portela has been a member of the PCC’s professional cadres for over 30 years, from a municipal level to within its national management bodies. She has served as a representative on the Council of Ministers Executive Committee; as well as minister and deputy minister of Auditing and Control. Bejerano Portela was appointed Comptroller General and a vice president of the Council of State.

Inés María Chapman, nominated for Vice president

Age: 52

Education: University

Occupation: President of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources

Organizations to which she is affiliated: PCC, CTC, CDR, FMC

Chapman has held various responsibilities within the FEEM, FEU and UJC. She occupied different positions within the Hydro-economy Enterprise in Holguín, before moving on to the Investments and Projects Entity. She served as assistant director of the Hydraulic Exploitation Enterprise and Provincial delegate of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources. Chapman is also a member of the Party Central Committee and Council of State.

Beatriz Jhonson, nominated for Vice president

Age: 48

Education: Further education

Occupation: President of the Provincial Assembly of People’s Power

Organizations to which she is affiliated: PCC, CDR, FMC, CTC

Jhonson is a trained chemical engineer and worked at the José Mercerón Cement Enterprise where she was promoted to Director General of Cement Santiago S.A. Later she was appointed Vice President then President of the Provincial Assembly of People’s Power in Santiago de Cuba.

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11: 47 a.m. Current National Assembly President, Vice president and Secretary reelected:

Para Lazo Hernández as President: 604 votes (100%)

Para Mari Machado, as Vice president: 604 (100%)

Para Brito Sarroca, as Secretary: 603 (99.83%)

11:06 a.m. The hashtag #SomosContinuidad is currently trending at number 22 on Twitter.

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Since yesterday the National Assembly of People’s Power has been calling on people to share information about the electoral process on the island which ends tomorrow, April 19. So far 13.287 messages containing the hashtag #SomosContinuidad have been posted on social media site.
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10:36 a.m. Army General Raúl Castro and First Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel during the Constituent Session of the National Assembly of People's Power 9th Legislature

Photo: ACN

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10:20 a.m. As voting proceeds, Cuban television continues its interview with two legal experts on the Cuban electoral process and its differences with those in other parts of the world.

Yamila González Ferrer explains that nominees chosen by the Candidates Commission are based on criteria expressed by the 605 deputies. Fabio Fernández adds that “Cuba has opted for a different kind of model, where the diversity of society and variety of ideas aren’t represented by different political parties.”

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10:10 a.m. The Army General was the first to approach the voting booth located at the back of the hall. Raúl casts his vote for the President of the National Assembly of People’s Power.

National Assembly Constituent Session. Photo: Juvenal Balán

10:07 a.m. The 605 deputies prepare to vote.

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10:02 a.m. Gisela Duarte Vázquez, President of the National Candidature Commission, described the work undertaken by this electoral authority to select nominees, taking into account their merits, abilities, track record and service to the people. Duarte Vázquez reads out proposals for President, vice president and secretary of the National Assembly of People’s Power:

For President: Juan Esteban Lazo Hernández, citing his successful efforts as President of the National Assembly for the last five years, and achievements made to date.

For Vice president: Ana María Mari Machado, a trained lawyer and capable individual who served as CEN president in 2010.

For Secretary: Miriam Brito Sarroca, who has served as a deputy since 2008.

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10:00 a.m. The President of the CEN invites deputies to sign the oath.

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9:58 a.m. Deputies remain standing as the oath is read aloud.

The President of the CEN asks if all swear to uphold the oath. Deputies reply in unison, “Yes, I swear!”

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9:52 a.m. Information on the composition of the National Assembly:

47.4 % of deputies have been reelected, while 56% are serving for the first time. The average age of deputies is 49, and over 80% were born after the triumph of the Revolution.

9:20 a.m. Alina Balseiro, President of the National Electoral Commission (CEN) reads out the names of deputies who then stand and present their Election Certificate to be validated by the relevant CEN authority.
Listed below are the 605 deputies to the National Assembly:

Photo: Granma

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9:17 a.m
. Raúl opens the Constituent Session of the National Assembly of People's Power 9th Legislature

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9:10 a.m. Photos from the Conference Center

Photos from the Convention center just before the Constituent Session of the National Assembly of People's Power 9th Legislature beings.

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9:05 a.m. Interview with Yamila González Ferrer, vice president of the National Union of Lawyers of Cuba:

González Ferrer noted that political campaigns do not take place in Cuba, stating that “when it comes to democracy people often focus on the electoral process,” when in reality, “it’s much more than that, just as our democratic process shows,” she explained.

Meanwhile, Granma also spoke to Fabio Fernández, professor at the University of Havana’s Philosophy Faculty, who summed up Cuban elections in one sentence: “The Assembly is a reflection of Cuba.”
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8:57 a.m. Cuban television begins its special broadcast of the Constituent Session of the National Assembly of People's Power 9th Legislature

Deputies recently arrived at the Conference center, while journalists gather in the press room. Granma correspondents continue to provide live coverage of events via social media.
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8:56 a.m. Composition of the Cuban Parliament:

When, in 1993, Fidel reviewed the composition of the National Assembly of People’s Power (ANPP), he noted that the growing number of university graduates, Black, Mixed Race, and female members reflected the “the way in which inequality and discrimination have been disappearing in our country.”

Women make up 53.22% of the 605 deputies elected last March 11, making Cuba the second country in the world with the highest number of female parliamentarians, behind Rwanda with 61.3%.
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8:50 a.m. On Sunday, March 25, Provincial Assemblies of People's Power were constituted, composed of 1,265 delegates elected by the people March 11, who after assuming their seats, elected via a secret ballot vote, the Presidents and Vice Presidents of these bodies.

Recenty elected national deputies were invited to the constitution of Provincial Assemblies in their respective territories, as were representatives of political, social, and grassroots organizations, according to ACN.

8:45 a.m. With the election, this Thursday, April 19, of the President, Vice President, and Secretary of the National Assembly of people's Power, we will be one step closer to concluding the general elections process underway in the country, since it began with their convocation June 17, 2017.
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8:30 a.m. The Republic of Cuba's Council of State, on the basis of authorities with which it is vested, agreed to initiate the Constituent Session of the National Assembly of People's Power 9th Legislature, this Wednesday, April 18, at 9:00am, in the Havana International Conference Center. This decision was made to facilitate taking all steps required of a session of this magnitude.