Cuba’s government has announced its parliamentary elections will take place on March 23, 2023, but the first steps are already underway with a run-off election scheduled today to decide the final results of last Sunday’s municipal races.
Voters will elect 12,400 councilors, who will nominate half of the candidates for March’s National Assembly election while representatives of various civic groups allied with the Communist Party will nominate the other half. As such, today’s run-offs will play a large role in shaping the outcome of March’s upcoming contests.
It’s the Caribbean nation’s first election since 2018 when incumbent President Manuel Diaz-Canel succeeded Raul Castro, and 2022 has so far been a politically contentious year. Anti-government protests and autumn following blackouts and food shortages, which the Communist Party of Cuba has called a “provocation”. Opposition groups have called on voters to abstain from voting in protest.
Manuel Diaz-Canel will seek another five-year term. While his tenure has seen positive changes on social issues, Cubans’ growing discontent likely means that the Communist Party will have to consider alternatives to its usual approach of harshly silencing dissent if it hopes to ensure a long-term hold on state authority.