Cuba’s parliament expected to restore post of prime minister after referendum

The Cuban National Assembly of the People’s Power will convene in Havana today to begin instituting the country’s new constitution,

cuba parliament referendum

Photo: Irene Perez/Cubadebate/Reuters

The Cuban National Assembly of the People’s Power will convene in Havana today to begin instituting the country’s new constitution, which reinstates the post of prime minister.

The constitution—approved in a February referendum with 87% support—ushered in significant changes to the country’s political, social and economic order, including recognising private property and investment, implementing presidential term limits and establishing the presumption of innocence in criminal proceedings. In the next few months, an array of new laws are slotted for discussion, including the new Family Code, the Criminal Code and the laws of Protection of Personal Data.

While the past decade has seen the Communist Party shift toward a less heavy-handed approach over both Cuban society and the economy, significant risks remain. Economic growth has stalled in the past year. As such, austerity measures initiated in 2016—including energy, fuel and consumer goods cuts—will continue. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is threatening additional economic sanctions, which could spook foreign investment.

Expect the Cuban legislature to push ahead with implementing the new laws. Should sanctions damage Cuba’s already fragile economy, it will likely discourage further economic reforms in the medium-to-long term. Specifically, that could mean Cuba’s plans to do away with its two-currency system could falter, making it harder to attract foreign investment.

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