On the doorstep of February 24 referendum
A brief summary of Cuba’s transcendental Constitutional Reform process
Author: Granma | firstname.lastname@example.org
february 22, 2019 16:02:20
1. START OF THE REFORM PROCESS
By agreement of the National Assembly of People’s Power (ANPP), in an extraordinary session held on June 2, 2018, it was agreed to initiate the Constitutional Reform process and approve, as a first step, the creation of a Commission in charge of preparing the proposed Constitution.
The Commission, chaired by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Party, and with the presence of the President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, and the Second Secretary of the Party, José Ramón Machado Ventura, worked intensely in the drafting of the first version.
2. APPROVAL OF THE PROPOSED CONSTITUTION BY THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
After several sessions of debate, in July of 2018, deputies approved the proposed Constitution of the Republic, and voted to submit the document to an extensive popular consultation.
3. POPULAR CONSULTATION
The process of popular consultation extended from August 13 to November 15 and mobilized the entire country, even Cubans living abroad had the opportunity to participate.
4. APPROVAL OF THE CONSTITUTION BY THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The final draft of the proposed Constitution, discussed and analyzed by deputies and enriched with proposals from the population, was approved, by a roll-call vote, by the National Assembly of People’s Power, during the Second Ordinary Period of Sessions of the IX Legislature. Esteban Lazo Hernández, president of the parliament, summoned citizens with the right to vote to a Referendum, on February 24, 2019.
5. APPOINTMENT OF THE NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION AND OTHER ELECTORAL BODIES
Members of the National Electoral Commission, presided by Alina Balseiro Gutiérrez, were appointed December 28, 2018, while provincial, municipal, district and special electoral commissions were named and constituted later.
To carry out the Referendum, electoral authorities received extensive training that allows them, in addition to fulfilling their responsibilities, to explain the significance of the constitutional reform process, as well as the contents of the Magna Carta that is submitted to ratification.
6. TEST RUN
Electoral authorities described the February 17 test run as satisfactory, noting that the all processes functioned well.
7. CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM
The Referendum will take place on February 24 throughout the country. The vote has already taken place abroad, which went according to plan: with transparency and total adherence to the law.
On the importance of these elections, Miguel Diaz-Canel said, at the conclusion of the Second Ordinary Session Period of the Ninth Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power:
“On a date as dear to us as February 24, 124 years after the resumption of the independence struggle led by our National Hero José Martí, Cubans of these times, faithful to our tradition of struggle, will go to the polls to approve the Constitution, as an expression of firmness and loyalty to the legacy of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro, and we will say with our vote: Yes to the Revolution, to the sovereignty and independence of the homeland, to unity. Yes for socialism and for the commitment to our heroes and martyrs over more than 150 years of struggles for freedom.”
8. PROCLAMATION OF THE CONSTITUTION
If the Constitution is ratified by the free and secret vote of the people, it will be proclaimed and will govern, from that moment, the destiny of the country.