Cuba: High voter turn-out in local polls

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Cuban President Raul Castro casts his ballot in April 19 municipal elections. Photo: Granma.

More than 7.7 million Cubans out of 8 million registered voters cast their ballots on April 19 to elect nearly 12,600 delegates out of about 27,000 candidates to the country’s Municipal Assemblies, TeleSUR English said the next day.

National Assembly president Esteban Lazo highlighted the relevance of these elections in a context of economic changes and the granting of greater powers to municipal assemblies. Runoff elections will be held April 26 for positions where no candidate secured more than 50% vote.

These Assemblies oversee services such as water and power, and are elected every 30 months. They form one of the three tiers of Cuba's government, along with provincial and national assemblies.

Under Cuban law, candidates must be nominated from their community and do not have to have any political affiliation. Voting is done by secret ballot and the public can witness the count.

Opposition candidate Hildebrando Chaviano, a lawyer who failed to win a seat in the capital, Havana, said: "The vote was clean. The count was clean. The people don't want change. They still want revolution."

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