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  • Cuban children stand next to ballot boxes at a school in Havana, Cuba.

    Cuban children stand next to ballot boxes at a school in Havana, Cuba. | Photo: Twitter / @laurapteleSUR

Published 11 March 2018

The National Assembly will choose a 31-member Council of State, the head of which will become the country's president.

Polls have closed across Cuba, where over 6 million have cast their ballots in elections that will produce a new National Assembly for the island.

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Reporting from Havana teleSUR's Cuba correspondent, Laura Prada says that the National Election Council of Cuba extended voting hours for approximately an hour to accommodate the island’s eight million voters. They were originally set to close at 5:00 PM local time.

More than 30,000 newly registered youths are voting for the first time in this election cycle, reports Prada.

"This is not an end of the revolution or legacy, it’s a continuation," Prada says that many Cubans are commenting.

Cubans went polls Sunday to elect members of the National Assembly as well as to form the provincial assemblies. The polls opened at 6:00 a.m. local time and are expected to close at 5:00 p.m.

Over eight million Cubans are eligible to vote for the 14 provincial assembly delegates and the 605 National Assembly members. This process will move the Latin American country one step closer to selecting a new leader.

The National Assembly will choose a 31-member Council of State, the head of which will automatically become the president. More than half of the candidates, 322, are women.

There are approximately 1,265 delegates in total. The electoral cycle, which will culminate on April 19, commenced last year with the election of more than 12,515 ward delegates.

About half of the provincial and national assembly candidates must be ward delegates. The remaining candidates can be from the arts and sports fields or other officials.

Candidates may be members of the Cuban Communist Party or not. Also, they can be from trade union groups or are among the country's student body.

Live updates:

6:00 p.m.

Polls close around the island, with over 6 million Cubans participating in the vote.

2:30 p.m. 

 

 

12:30 a.m. 

The Cuban top diplomat just cast his vote. 

11:00 a.m.

The Cuban electoral authorities have begun to publish information on the voting process.

10:30 a.m.

The president of the country's parliament just voted.

8:30 a.m.

First Vice President of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel exercises his right to vote before speaking to reporters at a polling station in Havana.

7:05 a.m.

President Raul Castro cast his vote.

6:00 a.m.

Polls open across the Caribbean country.

First vice-president, Miguel Diaz-Canel is widely touted as the natural successor to his mentor Raul Castro – who announced that he would not be seeking a new term. Following the election, it will be the first time in Cuba's history that the leader will not be a Castro.

The Cuban government was forced to issue a statement warning about and rejecting outside attempts at interfering with the country's electoral process.

The foreign ministry accused former Colombian President Andres Pastrana, ex-Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga as well as Chilean legislator Jaime Bellolio of attempting to enter the Latin American country – where they are not welcomed.

According to the Cuban government, the Democratic Initiative of Spain and the Americas, the Foundation for Pan American Democracy, the Victims of Communism Memory Foundation and the Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro are among those strategizing to undermine the electoral process.


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