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Posted July 13, 2007 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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Cuba called municipal elections on Monday for October 21, the start of a voting process that could clarify by early next year whether convalescing Fidel Castro will continue as head of state.

A decree signed by acting President Raul Castro set the date for elections that will renew municipal and provincial assemblies and, in turn, the National Assembly, which picks the Council of State and the president of Cuba every five years.

Fidel Castro has held the post since the current political system was set up 30 years ago.

For the first time since his 1959 revolution, the 80-year-old leader was forced to hand over power temporarily to his brother last July after undergoing intestinal surgery.

He has not appeared in public since, though he has recovered weight and returned to public life by writing columns from his hospital room and receiving foreign dignitaries.

“The big question is whether Fidel Castro will preside the Council of State,” said a European ambassador. “There are people in government saying he is too old.”

Castro did not attend the June funeral of Vilma Espin, Raul Castro’s wife and one of the most powerful women in Cuba’s political system, a sign that he may be too weak to resume governing in anything other than an advisory capacity.

Western diplomats says Raul Castro is firmly in control of the communist state, running day-to-day government, and could formally become president next year. Fidel Castro is expected to retain the powerful position of first secretary of the ruling Communist Party.

“The Council of State calls general municipal elections to choose the delegates to the Municipal and Provincial Assemblies and the deputies of the National Assembly of the People’s Power,” said the decree read on Cuban television news.

Cuba is a one-party state. Candidates to the assemblies do not have to be card-holding members of the Communist Party, but they usually are.

The 603-seat National Assembly is a rubber-stamp parliament which meets only twice a year for a day or so. Its members include Cuba’s only cosmonaut, its most famous folk singer, its most successful painter and the country’s TV weatherman.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on July 13, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Did Raul call for these elections or are they scheduled like US Presidential elections?

    If Fidel Castro is not elected, is he out of office? I know he holds several positions but I do not know if this is THE most important one.

    Is there a deeper meaning to this announcement of elections?

    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on July 13, 2007 by anders

    The Council of State consists of 37 elected members of the National Assembly. It serves as a sort of standing parliamentary committee as most members also are members of the local communal assemblies. The president of CoS is also the Chief of State, at present Raul Castro. Chairing the National Assembly meetings is a seperate function.
    The CoS is the connection in between the Chief of State and the national parliament making the president responsibel before parliament, ie parlamentarism.
    The Government or Cabinet is a seperate body of ministers also responsibel before the National Assembly.

    According to the Cuban Constitution of 1975 the terms of office are 2,5 years at local assemblies. The provincial parliaments have either 2,5 or 5 years (don´t remember now ) as mandate periods and the national assembly has 5 years.
    The elections are regulated by law, both in the Constitution and a seperate Law of Elections.

    If Fidel is not nominated by his constituency in Oriente or not confirmed by the Drafting Committee or the Election Committee (each consisting of one member for each of the large popular mass movements ; labor Union, Womens League, Small Farmers asf ) he can not be on the ballot hence not become a member of parliament hence not be Chief of State.

    Chief of State is also Commander in Chief. Secretary General of the PCC is a seperate function.

    If I remember correctly the constitution has like an open period of six months connected to the end of each period of office during which elections must be called for. Much like in Great Brittain. So speculations would have to consern why elections are at the beginning of this period instead of in february , for instance.

  3. Follow up post #3 added on July 13, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Good update. Thanks.

    So, it sounds like he will be nominated and be on the ballot?

    Cuba consulting services

  4. Follow up post #4 added on July 13, 2007 by anders

    I´m not sure he will be nominated at all or choose to accept a nomination. Everyone, both high and low, is aware of his age and physical weakness. And that he has been repeating old standards for some years now.

    As I have confronted things there seems to be a wide spred sentiment he should retire in grace. His enormous status makes it more or less impossible to discharge him ; national hero and saviour, the main consilier in between battling forces, heir of José Marti, international superstar ( Sweden has extraordinary good relations with the ANC as we were the main financier of their struggle and I know for sure Fidel is one of Mandelas idols asf ). We must realize that for a number of decades Fidel is one of a few world leaders who singel handedly could turn an international conference.
    I also think he suffers from “old mans- exaggerated-self appriciation-during-his-last-days” - you know “after Me - the Fall of Man”. This has been standing in the way of his retirement for many years now. Without the CANF/Bush campaigns he might have retired already. Quite likely, actually !

    Fidel often states “the revolution is a battle of Ideas” but seems to degrade the size of the Victory they have won. From my transcontinental ivory tower he sometimes seems better at picking problems and hazards. Maybe this election is a way of convinsing him there´s an orchard growing ?

    If the US would like to encourage Fidels retirement the first thing to do would be to muzzle its own retarded talibans and make Jimmi Carter and George Bush Sr say nice things about him. Have corporate leaders - especially oil and food stuffs - do the same and make republican senators present a reduction of the embargo. There would be a few more things I believe but that would be a good start.

  5. Follow up post #5 added on July 14, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Cuba releasing political prisoners, allowing freedom of the press, allowing freedom to assemble, allowing freedom to work for good wages, stopping the harassment of dissidents, etc.

    That would be a better start.

    Cuba consulting services

  6. Follow up post #6 added on July 17, 2007 by anders

    well, I´ve been waiting a few days with my reply to give somebody else a chanse.
    I wonder, dear publisher what it was that sent you off topic !?
    Anyway, the things you propose will hardly effect cuban elections. The international community knows for a fact allegations from outside and playing hard ball with them only increases voters participation and makes them vote for party members. Patriotism is very strong.

    Do you think there is a deeper meaning to these elections ?

    At least half of the party members, somewhere around 8% of the population all together have been appointed since Poderes Populares system became effective. Could it be elections is a way to strengthen the entire system ?

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