|‹ 2003 2010 ›|
|Cuban legislative election, 2006|
|All 614 seats to the National Assembly of People's Power of Cuba|
|January 19, 2006|
|First party||Second party|
|Leader||Felipe Pérez Roque||Marcelino Miyares Sotolongo|
|Party||Communist Party of Cuba||Christian Democratic Party|
|Third party||Fourth party|
|Leader||Fernando Sánchez López||Vladimiro Roca|
|Party||Democratic Solidarity Party||Social Democratic Party of Cuba|
Prime Minister before election
Felipe Pérez Roque
Communist Party of Cuba
Elected Prime Minister
Felipe Pérez Roque
Communist Party of Cuba
The Cuban legislative election to the National Assembly of People's Power was held in Cuba on January 19, 2006. This was the first elections since Fidel Castro had reformed the Cuban constitution to include free elections, freedom of speech and other democratic elements in favour of having the United States lifting the economic sanctions on Cuba.
According to the new Cuban electoral system, a system of constituency based proportional representation as well as a system of allotment is indirectly prescribed in the constitution, ensuring a balanced distribution of the 614 seats. 460 members are elected by proportional majority in constituencies while the remaining 54 seats are allotted in proportion to the total number of votes a party or list receives.
The election allowed the Communist Party to remain in power for a four-year term, with Felipe Pérez Roque serving as prime minister under President Fidel Castro.
Background to the election
When John McCain was running for president in 2000, he supported the normalizing of relations with Cuba, even if Fidel Castro remained in power, provided that the Cuban government did certain things to democratize Cuba. McCain compared the situation to normalizing relations with Vietnam. On November 7, 2000, John McCain was elected the 43rd President of the United States. In 2001, the McCain administration and Fidel Castro's regime initiated negotiations, and on October 10, 2002, an agreement was reached which stated that the U.S. would at first soften up their embargo on Cuba if the Cuban government allowed to hold free elections, release political prisoners, legalize political parties and labor unions, allow freedom of speech and loosen up travel restrictions for Cubans. If the reforms carried out by the Cuban authorities were deemed satisfactory, the embargo would be completely lifted and the diplomatic relations with Cuba normalized.
In early 2003 Castro allowed ordinary citizens to buy DVD-players, PC's, cellular phones, scooters and other energy-consuming products. He also signed two United Nations human rights agreements and freed many prisoners. In April 2003 he allowed a partial freedom of speech and loosened up travel restrictions for Cubans, and on May 10, Castro decriminalized parties from campaigning or engaging in any public political activities on Cuba.
As a result, McCain announced that certain elements of the embargo would be lifted on June 14, 2003, which meant that some U.S. corporations would be allowed to do business with Cuba for the first time in over 40 years. On August 11, 2003 McCain announced at a press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Felipe Pérez Roque the formal normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba, after a 40-year hiatus of severed ties. Subsequent to McCain's normalization announcement, in August 2003, both nations upgraded their Liaison Offices opened during May 2003 to embassy status. As diplomatic ties between the nations grew, the United States opened a consulate general in Santiago de Cuba, and Cuba opened a consulate in San Francisco. On March 10, 2004, Castro agreed to hold free elections at the latest in 2007.
Changes to the Cuban electoral system was made in July 2004, while the new constitution was accepted on July 10, 2004. According to the new Cuban electoral system, a system of constituency based proportional representation as well as a system of allotment is indirectly prescribed in the constitution, ensuring a balanced distribution of the 614 seats. 460 members are elected by proportional majority in constituencies while the remaining 54 seats are allotted in proportion to the total number of votes a party or list receives. All parties and lists receiving more than 2% of the total vote are guaranteed parliamentary representation.
On January 8, 2005 the Minister of the Interior Abelardo Colomé announced that the election date had been set to January 19, 2006, and that the political parties would be allowed to register for nomination to the National Assembly of People's Power in all fifteen provinces(divided into 169 municipalities). By August 10, 2005 six parties had successfully registered for nomination in the fifteen provinces.
María Esther Reus, the President of the National Electoral Commission and Minister of Justice, announced the results of the election on 24 January 2008. Turnout in the election was placed at 90.4%, with 8,155,791 voters participating; 97.2% of the votes cast (7,927,428) were valid.
51.6% of voters (4,208,388) cast for the Communist Party. While losing their monopoly on the power in the National Assembly of People's Power, they maintained the majority of the votes, and thus the Communist Party could remain in power for another four years.
The election marked a turning point in Cuban politics, with large gains made by liberal and right-wing political parties. The Christian Democratic Party received 18.3% (1,492,509) of the votes, thus becoming the second largest party and the largest right-wing party in the National Assembly. The Democratic Solidarity Party received 14.7% (1,198,901) of the votes, becoming the third largest party. The smallest right-wing party was the Cuban Liberal Union, which received 3.5% (285,452) of the votes.
Among left-wing opposition parties, 8.2% of the voters (668,774) cast for the Social Democratic Party, while 2.11% of the voters (172,087) voted for the Democratic Social-Revolutionary Party. Other candidates got 1.58% of the vote (128,861).
Of the invalid votes (2.8%), 1.73% (152,241) were blank and 1.08% (76,120) were spoiled. The newly elected Assembly met for the first time on February 24, 2006.
On February 24, 2006, the National Assembly began sitting for its new term, and Fidel Castro was elected President. Alarcón was elected as President of the National Assembly, while Fernando Sánchez López of the Democratic Solidarity Party was elected as its Vice President and Miriam Brito was elected as its Secretary.
- Argentina -
- Brazil - Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva congratulated Felipe Pérez Roque for the victory and praised that the election had been carried out after international democratic standards.
- Canada -
- Chile -
- Colombia -
- Ecuador -
- Mexico -
- Paraguay -
- Peru -
- United States - U.S. President John McCain sent separate messages congratulating both Felipe Pérez Roque with his victory and the party chairmen of all opposition parties as well. During a press conference at the White House the day after the election, he said: "This is a great day for the ideals of democracy and liberty. On behalf of the United States we will congratulate Cuba with a successful election, even if the outcome perhaps is not exactly as we would prefer. But the main point of a democratic leadership is the fact that it is up to the people of each respective nation to democratically elect their representatives for the party that best serves their interest. We welcome the results of the fair and free elections held in Cuba, and we congratulate not only the parties that participated in the election, but the whole Cuban people with their peaceful transition to democracy. While there is still much progress needed to complete Cuba's peaceful transition to democracy, this is indeed testimony of the confidence of the people of Cuba in the democratic process."
- Venezuela - President Hugo Chavéz phoned both Felipe Pérez Roque to congratulate his "great and important victory for people fighting for a better world" and Fidel Castro to congratulate with "this magnificent victory for the Cuban socialist revolution".
- Belarus - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko congratulated Felipe Pérez Roque on his election as prime minister of Cuba. He said: "I'm convinced that Belarusian-Cuban constructive relations will develop dynamically and that mutually advantageous strategic projects will be realised for the sake of the peoples of our countries."
- France -
- Germany -
- Norway - Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg congratulated Felipe Pérez Roque with the result, and praising the Cuban government for holding free, democratic elections in over 60 years. Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre also praised the democratic nature of the election, calling it "a large breakthrough in democratic development in Latin America". Also the opposition praised the election despite hoping for a right-wing victory.
- Spain -
- Russia - President Vladimir Putin congratulated Felipe Pérez Roque on his election, and expressed hope Cuba-Moscow friendly relations would be expanded in line of the two nations' interests and peace and stability.
- United States - British Prime Minister Tony Blair congratulated Felipe Pérez Roque with the victory, and praised the democratic reforms carried out following dialogue and mutual respect between the Cuban authorities and the West.
- China - Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson voiced respect for, what he called, "the choice of the Cuban people" and hoped that Cuban-Chinese relations could be expanded in the near future.
- Concert of Democracies - Secretary General Sérgio Vieira de Mello said in a press conference on January 20: "The legislative election on Cuba has taken place, with no major incidents and descrepencies. The election has in terms of voting, vote counting met international democratic standards. Thus, we congratulate Felipe Pérez Roque with the victory.
- European Union -
- United Nations -
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