Cuba confirms turnout for parliamentary elections was lowest since 1959
Havana, Mar 27 (EFE).- Cuba confirmed on Monday that turnout for the parliamentary elections over the weekend was the lowest since the triumph of the revolution in 1959.
National Electoral Council (CEN) President Alina Balseiro said in a morning press conference that 75.92 percent of the Communist-ruled island’s more than 8.1 million eligible voters took part in Sunday’s balloting.
That figure was nearly 10 percentage points lower than the turnout for National Assembly elections in 2018, a process that renewed the legislature that elected current President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Raul Castro’s successor.
Although Sunday’s turnout would be considered high in any other country in the Western Hemisphere, it was well short of the historical average of more than 90 percent that Cuban election officials had reported prior to 2018.
Even so, it was still higher than the turnout for the Family Code referendum last September and the November 2022 local elections.
Balseiro added that 90.28 percent of the ballots were valid in Sunday’s parliamentary voting. Of the remaining ballots, 6.22 percent of those cast were blank and 3.5 percent were annulled, according to the CEN’s preliminary figures.
She also said the 470 candidates – for 470 seats, the vast majority of whom are members of the Communist Party or allied groups – all surpassed the 50 percent threshold needed for election.
Despite criticisms leveled by non-governmental organizations and dissident groups both inside Cuba and abroad, the CEN’s president said the balloting unfolded without incident and within the bounds of the law.
After Sunday’s vote, three independent NGOs that observed the process (no international observers were present) said the elections were the “most irregular” to be held in Cuba since 1976 and that they did not reflect the will of the electorate.
For his part, Diaz-Canel on Monday hailed the results of the parliamentary voting as a “revolutionary victory.”
He said on Twitter that the 75.92 percent turnout was a “clear home run” despite an intense campaign by dissidents to encourage abstentionism.
“This Sunday was a day of celebration, of joy, of confirmation, of convictions,” Diaz-Canel added. EFE