[:es]Wished U.S. Citizens Could Watch First Hand Cuban Elections, FM Said[:]

[:es]Havana, Nov 26.- I wished U.S. citizens could watch first hand Cuban elections to have an opinion of our democratic system, said today Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez.

These elections draw the attention of many in the world, much more than usual, ‘and we are happy to be exercising that right in a convulsive and increasingly complex world, where expressing freely is becoming increasingly difficult, assured the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

At 07:00 (local time) over 24,300 polling stations opened in Cuba for more than eight million voters to elect delegates to the Municipal Assemblies of the People’s Power.

In this first stage of the general elections 2017-2018 some 12,515 delegates will be elected from the same number of electoral districts, who will integrate the existing 168 Municipal Assemblies throughout the Caribbean island.

The runoff vote will be on December 3 in those electoral districts in which none of the candidates obtain over 50 percent of the valid votes.

Likewise, the date for electing – for five years – the delegates to the provincial assemblies and deputies to the Parliament will be scheduled at the appropriate time, the electoral authorities said.

The Foreign Minister stressed that there are electoral processes in other countries that encourage division and hatred, which are ruled by money and corporate interests, while the world looks and feels that there is an alternative in Cuba.

Rodriguez recalled that Washington has intensified the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States for over half a century and maintains the prohibition of US citizens to travel to Cuba.

These elections take place after the passage of Hurricane Irma and coincide with the first anniversary of the physical disappearance of the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.

He was remembered last night by the youth in a simple and profound way on the steps of the University of Havana, and in these elections is his legacy, pinpointed the Foreign Minister. (PL)[:]