ON February 24, the Cuban people, exercising their sovereignty, will decide on one of the most important issues for the country: the approval in a popular referendum of the new Constitution.
This is a fully democratic exercise, following from the approval by the National Assembly of People’s Power (ANPP) of the final text, drafted after the popular consultation process in which the entire population was able to participate. This led to the modification of 60% of the draft text through the opinions expressed in more than 133,000 meetings across the country.
WHAT IS A POPULAR REFERENDUM?
Article 162 of the Electoral Law stipulates that “through referenda called by the National Assembly of People’s Power, citizens with the right to vote express whether or not they ratify draft bills for Constitutional Reform,” so that they may enter into force.
To carry out a referendum, ballot papers are used in which the question asked of the electorate is clearly and concretely expressed. In the case of the referendum of February 24, the question will be: “Do you approve the new Constitution of the Republic?” and the ballot will have two spaces to mark either Yes or No, as established by the law.
STEPS TO HOLD A POPULAR REFERENDUM
- The ANPP makes available to the people the Constitution that will be taken to popular referendum and fixes the date.
- The Council of State designates the members of the National Electoral Commission.
- Provincial, municipal, district, circumscription and special electoral commissions are created.
- The National Electoral Commission, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, establishes what is necessary to guarantee the exercise of the vote by those voters who are outside the national territory on the day of the referendum.
- Municipal Electoral Commissions count the votes cast in each municipality and forward the results to Provincial Electoral Commissions.
- Provincial Electoral Commissions count the votes cast in all municipalities of each province, and send the results to the National Electoral Commission, which conducts the national count.
- Polling stations located outside the national territory count the ballots and communicate the results to their respective embassies, which forward these to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in order to be communicated to the National Electoral Commission.
- The National Electoral Commission, once the total vote count of the referendum has been conducted, informs the Council of State, which publishes the results and reports to the National Assembly of People’s Power for appropriate action.
(Source: 1992 Electoral Law)