By Fabian Flores (Cafe Fuerte)
HAVANA TIMES – In just 15 days Cubans will know if president Raul Castro, 86, will be on the ballot for elections to the National Assembly of Popular Power or will in effect retire from power, at least from the one that emanates from the State Council. He may remain as the top figure of the Communist Party, the real source of power and decision making.
The State Council announced on Saturday that the municipal assemblies of the People’s Power will meet on January 21, in extraordinary session, to make the nomination of candidates for delegates to provincial assemblies and deputies to Parliament, who will then elect the presidency of the executive.
The official proclamation also stipulates that on March 11 voting will take place to designate, for a term of five years, the delegates to the provincial assemblies and the deputies to the National Assembly of People’s Power.
The new National Assembly will be constituted on April 19, after a postponement announced at the end of the year due to the effects of Hurricane Irma on national life, which forced the municipal elections to be delayed.
In two weeks the lists of candidates will be drawn up and it will be known if Raul Castro will be among the possible candidates elected to Parliament. The president has said he will retire from his duties as head of the State Council, but could remain a symbolic figure among members of Parliament.
Starting Friday January 5th and until January 14, the municipal delegates will be consulted on the proposals of precandidates for provincial delegates and National Assembly deputies for their territories. Preliminary lists have already been prepared by the provincial and national candidacy commissions, which are real filters to ensure the “political guarantee of the process”.
According to the Cuban Electoral Law, up to 50% of the deputies can be selected from among the municipal and provincial delegates, while the rest are proposed by the Communist Party’s mass organizations.
Raul Castro will supposedly leave power – as president of the Council of State – on April 19. The picture points to Miguel Diaz Canel, first vice president, as his successor, but nothing guarantees that this transfer will be effective.