Cubans prepare for Sunday parliamentary election

Photo: Yander Zamora/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

On Sunday, Cubans will vote to elect 470 lawmakers for their National Assembly of People's Power, who will serve for the next five years. These elections are significant as they follow the approval of a new constitution in 2019, which set the stage for the institution to determine the country’s president.

The voting process is government-organized, with candidates chosen by selection committees based on criteria including merit, moral authority, popular acceptance, and adequate social participation.

While voters can abstain or invalidate their votes, there are no opposition candidates, and the winning candidate must receive more than half the number of valid votes emitted in the municipality or electoral district.

The new lawmakers will face a Cuba in crisis, with a struggling economy leading to food, fuel, medicine, and electricity shortages and contributing to social unrest. The election's abstention rate will be closely watched, with rising rates in recent elections.

Some criticize Cuba’s elections as lacking transparency or credible opposition and for being beholden to the Communist Party.

Despite this, Cuba defends its system, saying it promotes unity and has a more inclusive candidate selection process than elsewhere, with over half its candidates being women, and 45 percent being Black.

The implications of declining turnout in this election could threaten the new assembly's credibility and exacerbate a growing sense of malaise in the country.