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Cuba: Municipal elections to be held November 26 /update 1

Municipal elections to be held on November 26; protests possible due to lack of opposition candidates on ballots

TIMEFRAME expected from 9/20/2017, 12:00 AM until 11/26/2017, 11:59 PM (America/Havana). COUNTRY/REGION Cuba

Event

Municipal elections are scheduled to be held in Cuba on Sunday, November 26. Voters will select municipal assembly members and deputies to the National Assembly of People's Power (ANPP).

On November 8, political opposition leaders in Cuba reported that no opposition candidates were selected to be on the ballots in the municipal elections, despite several hundred candidates having been put forward by opposition groups. Opposition organizations claim that the government interfered with local nominating assemblies, in which residents of an electoral district approve candidates to be listed on the ballots. Small protests cannot be ruled out; all protests should be systematically avoided as police can be heavy handed when they do occur.

Context

The government postponed municipal elections, originally scheduled for October 22, until November 26, to allow time to recover from damage caused by Hurricane Irma. The hurricane hit Cuba September 8-10, killing at least ten people and causing severe flooding and power outages across the island.

The November municipal elections are the first step in the political cycle that will conclude with the ANPP deciding who will succeed President Raul Castro. President Castro has stated that he will step down after two five-year terms in office, which translates to February 2018. That month, the newly elected ANPP will determine who will be the next president.

Under Cuban law, the only legal political party is the Communist Party of Cuba.

Advice

Individuals in Cuba are advised to keep abreast of the sociopolitical climate in the coming weeks, avoid talking about sensitive political topics in public, and avoid large public gatherings.

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