HAVANA Cuba,Oct. 21, CMC – Cubans go to the polls on Sunday in the first of several votes leading up to the expected re-election of President Raúl Castro in February next year.
More than 90 percent of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean island’s 8 million voters are expected to choose in Sunday’s poll from the 30,000 candidates for the 168 municipal councils.
Officials said some of the winners will be selected to run later for provincial Legislatures and for the National Assembly of People’s Power most likely in a final round of balloting in February.
The Assembly then selects the Councils of State and Ministers, the standing bodies of the Legislature, and their president, the country’s highest office.
Castro was elected to those posts in 2008 and is widely expected to be chosen for a second five-year term.
The Cuban President,proposed during a Communist Party gathering in 2011 that all top offices be limited to two five-year terms.
But it is not totally clear whether his 2008 term would count, or even whether the proposal was put into effect.
Analysts say while official candidates usually win more than 90 percent of the vote, they have noticed an increasing number of blank or null ballots in recent elections.
Dissidents have also reported some small incidents surrounding preparations for Sunday’s balloting.