For a person to be President of the Council of State in Cuba he or she must go through various election instances which directly involve the people or their elected representatives
You don't need to dig deeply to find the answer. Law No. 72, Electoral law, of October 29, 1992, is explicit, and doctor José Luis Toledo Santander, Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Issues of the National Assembly goes right to the point.
"The President of the Council of State in Cuba is elected by means of second degree balloting, i.e. members, elected by the people and on behalf of the people, approve the nomination and then proceed to vote secretly and directly for those who will make up the Council of State i.e. the President, the first Vice-President, Vice-Presidents, Secretary and other members'.
According to Toledo Santander, sometimes we hear criteria - not always well-intentioned - that question "whether the election of the President responds to a direct popular expression. «Unaware, however, that for someone in Cuba to attain that office he or she must go through several election instances, which directly involve the people or their elected representatives”.
The also associate professor of the University of Havana prefers to describe each stage in order to clarify the path that begins when a comrade is proposed by a mass organization as a candidate for Deputy to the National Assembly.
On this occasion, the 605 candidates for deputies to the National Assembly, which will be voted on March 11, from among whom the President will emerge, were the result of more than 12,000 proposals present at the 970 assemblies held throughout the country. Forty seven per cent of those candidates are grass-roots delegates, 47.4% whoe were elected during the first stage of the general election process.
Then, continues Toledo Santander, «comes the nomination by the Municipal Assembly of Peoples Power, which is not, in any way, formal. It is there when the candidacy commissions at that level present pre-candidates, and the assemblies decide by direct and open ballot if they approve them or not." In fact, to be nominated each of the proposals must get more than half of the votes of the delegates present.
And if a candidature or any of the pre-candidates is not approved the Commission has the responsibility of presenting a new proposal, which is subject to the same procedure.
« Once nominated as a candidate comes another electoral episode, which is the exercise of the free, secret and direct vote of the people, either in a constituency or a district where the deputies are elected ».
That moment which the Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs mentions coincides precisely with the coming elections on March 11 , when Cubans will also elect delegates to the provincial assemblies.
In his opinion, it is worth noting that, in accordance with the law, "each Deputy is elected by 20 000 inhabitants or fraction larger than 10 000, and in those municipalities a population of 30 000 inhabitants or less, two members of Parliament are always elected. That is why the National Assembly holds the representation of all the people».
Toledo explains that "once deputies have been elected and taken possession of their seats in the National Assembly, The National Candidacy Commission calls each of the elected and everyone has the right to propose who should, in his view, be the members of the Council of State, that is suggest 31 persons from amongst them, including, obviously, the President.
«Subsequently, the Commission presents to the consideration of the National Assembly in open voting, a full candidacy thto modify it partially or in whole. Once it is approved, it is submitted to a free, direct and secret vote. It is then when the President of the Council of State is finally elected".
According to the spirit of the election law, if a President in office ceases his functions he or she is replaced by the first Vice-President.
In the words of Toledo Santander, the road that the electoral process must follow « is the clear reflection of the participation of the people or of the elected representatives of the people. Cuba is not the only country that elects its head of State in second degree elections Many nations apply this type of election, which in any way limits its legitimacy and democratic spirit».