HAVANA TIMES – Cuba’s parliament on Saturday approved a new electoral law which calls for both a president and a prime minister but does not allow for a multi-party system, maintaining the Communist Party as the only permitted political organization, reported dpa news.
Like the president and parliament deputies, the prime minister can now be elected to a maximum of two 5-year consecutive terms.
The new electoral law was unanimously approved in the parliamentary session which included former Cuban President Raul Castro, who remains at the head of the powerful Communist Party of Cuba, and current President Miguel Diaz-Canel.
Diaz-Canel is expected to remain at the head of the country and appoint a prime minister, a position for which there are still no official candidates. He is Cuba’s first president since 1976 to not come from the Castro family. Prior to 1976, Fidel Castro had been the country’s Prime Minister.
The figures of president and prime minister existed until 1976 when they disappeared with the approval of the first socialist constitution. At the time two roles were merged into the president of the Council of State, an organ of parliament, assumed by Fidel Castro until he resigned for health reasons in July, 2006, substituted by his brother Raul.
Cuba adopted a new constitution in April of this year which allows a minor economic opening, amid concern over the deterioration of the island’s economy.
The new constitution was approved by more than 86 per cent of voters in a referendum in February, according to the the government.
With the new legislation, parliament will be downsized from 605 deputies currently to 474 seats.
Despite the changes, the essence of the political system remains intact. It is a one-party system in which the Communist Party puts forward all parliamentary candidates via nominating committees.
Once seated, the parliament customarily approves all decrees handed to it from the executive by unanimous vote; it generates almost no legislation itself.