Cubans overwhelmingly ratify new socialist constitution

Cubans overwhelmingly ratify new socialist constitution

Cubans have overwhelmingly ratified a new constitution that enshrines the one-party socialist system as irrevocable while instituting modest economic and social changes, according to the national electoral commission, Trend reported citing Reuters.

Alina Balseiro Gutierrez, president of the commission, said at a Havana press conference on Monday that preliminary results showed 84.4 percent of the 7.8 million potential voters participated in the Sunday referendum.

She said of the potential electorate and not actual votes cast, 73.31 percent ratified the charter, 7.6 percent opposed ratification and 4.5 percent spoiled or left ballots blank.

By comparison, in 1976 when the current constitution was ratified, 99.02 percent of voters in a 98 percent turnout reportedly ratified and just 54,000 were opposed.

There are no independent observers of Cuban elections, however citizens may observe the count at their precincts.

Scattered local reports on social media seemed to somewhat confirm the results.

Cuba’s best-known dissident and pioneer blogger, Yoani Sanchez, who runs an online newspaper from a barrio known for its support of the government, wrote she braved insults and yelling to witness the count in her precinct of 400 yes votes, 25 no votes and 4 blank ballots.

The independent online newspaper El Toque asked readers to send in local tallies, a dozen of which showed overwhelming support for ratification.

A report from a district in central Villa Clara province had the new constitution ratified by 414 votes versus 66 opposed, and another from a district in westernmost Pinar del Rio reported 298 yes votes and 18 no votes.

Debate over the constitution has dominated Cuba’s politics for months, with the government arguing it represents both continuity of former leader Fidel Castro’s policies and adaptation to today’s demands and opponents insisting it is a continuation of Communist party rule and oppression.

The government orchestrated a grassroots debate on a draft of the new constitution last year, but after it approved a final version for the referendum in December it used its monopoly of traditional media and public spaces to press for approval.

Nevertheless, dueling campaigns to vote ‘yes’, ‘no’ or abstain raged on the internet. The Roman Catholic Church issued a critique read in churches, and many evangelicals said they were opposed.

Dissidents, who were divided between those who advocated a ‘no’ vote and those who called for abstention so as not to legitimize a process they deemed a fraud, reported a few incidents across the country of members being temporarily detained or harassed.

“The Cuban government engaged in an unprecedented campaign to assure an overwhelmingly positive vote on the new constitution as a way to legitimize both the market-oriented economic reforms underway and the new leadership of President Miguel Diaz-Canel and the post-revolutionary generation,” American University professor of government and Cuba expert William LeoGrande said.

There are important changes in the new constitution that reflect the gradual opening of the Caribbean island nation since the fall of its former benefactor, the Soviet Union.

There are references to markets and recognition of private property, foreign investment, small businesses, gender identity, the internet, the right to legal representation upon arrest and habeas corpus.

The new constitution would also restructure government, adding a prime minister and setting term limits for the president, among other changes.

“It’s another big missed opportunity,” said Carlos Saladrigas, a Cuban-American businessman and head of the Cuban Study Group which advocates engagement with Cuba.

“The few important economic changes made are not sufficient to create economic growth and attract foreign investment in the needed quantities,” he said.

Azerbaijan significantly increases export of oil
Azerbaijan significantly increases export of oil
SOCAR, Snam to study development of renewable gases, use of sustainable energy
SOCAR, Snam to study development of renewable gases, use of sustainable energy
Baroness Nicholson: UK ready to help maximize Azerbaijan’s solar, wind and hydro generation potential
Baroness Nicholson: UK ready to help maximize Azerbaijan’s solar, wind and hydro generation potential
Loading Bars
Kazakhstan’s oil producing company to buy radio stations via tender
Restructurization of Kazakhstan's Tengri Bank halted
Azerbaijan significantly increases export of oil
Azerbaijan’s CEC annuls results of voting at one more polling station
National Iranian South Oilfields Company to buy gas turbine spare parts via tender
Turkish businessmen to enter the market of Uzbekistan
SOCAR, Snam to study development of renewable gases, use of sustainable energy
Azerbaijani, Italian presidents made press statements (PHOTO)
US notifies citizens on situation regarding new coronavirus in Turkmenistan
National Iranian South Oilfields Company to buy air compressor spare parts via tender
Value of road freight transportation increases in Azerbaijan
Kazakh KAZ Minerals studying one of largest undeveloped copper fields
Iran prepares sponsorship plan for retired civil servants
Azerbaijan’s State Security Service conducting special operation in Netchala district
UK is more free to trade and develop partnerships with Azerbaijan, says PM’s Trade Envoy
Luxembourg PM: Britain must stick to fair competition commitments
EU privacy body warns of privacy risks in Google
Azerbaijani agricultural products would be popular in UK: Baroness Nicholson
Baroness Nicholson: UK ready to help maximize Azerbaijan’s solar, wind and hydro generation potential
Iran's West Oil & Gas Production Company discloses oil production volumes
Azerbaijan reveals wine export revenues
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Italian President Sergio Mattarella hold expanded meeting
Kazakh freight transportation operator opens tender for equipment modernization
Azerbaijani, Italian presidents hold one-on-one meeting
Oil products to be put up for sale at Iran Energy Exchange
Israel's sees 2020 revenue reaching almost $1 billion
WHO says in touch with South Korea on 'cluster of COVID-19 cases'
Azerbaijan exports hazelnuts to Lebanon for first time
National Bank of Georgia joins network of central banks
Chinese CNPC opens tender for selling of lump sulfur in Turkmenistan
Turkish Grand National Assembly: Azerbaijan, Turkey want peaceful settlement of Karabakh conflict
ARETI taking part in development of Turkmen shelf of Caspian Sea
Volume of cargo transportation in Azerbaijan increases
Azerbaijani company talks on plans to cover Georgian, Kazakh IT market
Uzbekistan plans to introduce modern "smart water" system
Azerbaijan’s Ateshgah Life insurance company preparing new products
Azerbaijani Central Bank eases currency regime for entrepreneurs
Central Bank of Iran: Denomination to be implemented within 2 years
Kazakhstan’s KAZ Minerals talks copper, precious metals output in 2020
Three test positive for coronavirus in Iran - health ministry
Belarus to help Georgia in creating dairy farms
Uzbekistan plans to purchase helicopters from Russia's Tatarstan
Kazakhstan officially prohibits personal protective equipment export amid coronavirus spread
Output of Iran’s South Zagros Oil & Gas Production Company revealed
Official welcome ceremony held for Azerbaijani president in Rome (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Edison sees decrease in sales revenues
Azerbaijan’s State Security Service conducting special operation in administrative building of Netchala District Executive Power
UK retail sales rebound in January after weak end to 2019
German state minister: Owner of car used to flee shooting was 43-year-old German
Austrian FM to visit Iran
National Iranian South Oil Company discloses oil production forecast
Uzbek-Korean JV announces tender to buy universal toner
Turkmenistan Airlines cancels flights to Russian cities
Turkey discloses volume of cargo transshipment through Port of Aliaga
Production of metallurgical industry in Azerbaijan increases
Global LNG demand to double by 2040
Turkmenistan exporting cement to Afghanistan, Uzbekistan
Car production grows in Azerbaijan
Price of Chevrolet cars manufactured in Uzbekistan increases
Georgia increases electricity consumption
Azerbaijan eyes to increase wine production
Producer Price Index decreases in Georgia
Turkmen Health & Medical Industry Ministry opens tender to purchase medical equipment
Uzbekistan postpones Tashkent Investment Forum due to spread of coronavirus
Share of domestic exports up in Georgia
SOCAR, Azerbaijan's STP create joint venture (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan makes significant progress in average Internet connection speed
Body of missing Azerbaijani soldier evacuated from neutral territory (PHOTO)
Baku Higher Oil School holds discussions on topic ‘Women and Engineering’ (PHOTO)
Export Price Index decreases in Georgia
Azerbaijan increases agricultural production
Uzbekistan, Malaysia to co-op on military-industrial complex projects
Further OPEC action to do little to stem tide of bearish sentiment in oil market
Iran discloses land area provided with modern irrigation systems
Iranian currency rates for Feb. 20
Partners & Business exhibition kicks off in Baku
President Ilham Aliyev: Work done in Baku in recent years, bridges and road junctions built probably have no equal
Aéroports de Paris interested in investing in Georgia
President Ilham Aliyev: Most modern technologies should be applied in Baku
Azerbaijani oil prices on Feb. 19
Uzbekistan, Turkey sign joint statement following first meeting of Strategic Cooperation Council
Cathay Pacific suspends Tel Aviv - Hong Kong flights
Gold, silver prices up in Azerbaijan on Feb. 20
Azerbaijani tea producer significantly increases plantation area
Turkmen state corporation opens tender to purchase various equipment
Estonia ready to deepen cooperation with Georgia
Deputy director: Sustainable production - priority for National Iranian Oil Company
Azerbaijani currency rates for Feb. 20
Oil rises on supply woes; demand concerns from coronavirus ease
Gunman suspected of killing nine in Germany found dead in home
Kazakhstan Railways opens tender for equipment maintenance
Georgia to benefit from construction of gas collector
Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 23 times on Feb.19- Feb.20
Number of tourists from Turkmenistan visiting Turkey increases
Czech Embassy talks on spheres of cooperation expansion in Kazakhstan
Iran-UAE economic ties need to be strengthened
Azerbaijan's Central Bank holds auction at Bloomberg trading platform
Belarus ready to move forward in industrial, agricultural cooperation with Georgia
Azerbaijan ranks Georgia’s fourth major trading partner
Australia to hold wide-ranging enquiry into disastrous bushfires
All news