Cubans set to vote in referendum on new constitution

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Cubans will Sunday vote for or against a new constitution that recognises the right to private property but maintains a  one-party system.

The new charter is expected to be approved, but possibly with a smaller majority than the current one, in 1976.

The draft constitution was discussed for three months at neighbourhood and workplace assemblies.

The discussion led to about 760 modifications to it before parliament gave it a final seal of approval in December 2018.

“Most of the changes were a question of style,’’ said Jose Jasan Nieves, from the Independent News website El Toque.

The text recognises the right to private property, the role markets can play and the importance of foreign investment.

It also introduces the figure of a prime minister and reduces presidential terms from an unlimited number to two.

The constitution maintains communism as the state ideology and a one-party system.

The charter can only enter into force if the majority of Cubans give it their backing.

The 1976 constitution was approved by nearly 98 per cent of voters.

However, this time, the use of the internet has emboldened the discussion, and a government campaign in favour of a yes-vote revealed a concern that the constitution might not be approved with a large majority.

“I vote yes,’’ was the motto of the campaign featuring posters in buses or sports stadiums.

A preliminary result of the vote will be made public on Monday. (dpa/NAN)

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