National Assembly of People's Power
|National Assembly of People's Power
Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular
|3 February 2013|
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The National Assembly of People’s Power (Spanish: Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular) is the legislative parliament of the Republic of Cuba and the supreme body of State power. Its members (currently numbering 612) are elected from single-member electoral districts for a term of five years. The Assembly's current President is Esteban Lazo Hernández. The assembly meets twice a year. Between sessions it is represented by the 31 member Council of State. The most recent elections were held on 3 February 2013.
The Assembly is a unicameral (one-chamber) parliament and the only body in Cuba that is vested with both constituent and legislative authority (although the government may pass decrees that have the force of law). It holds two regular sessions a year, which are public unless the Assembly itself votes to hold them behind closed doors for reasons of state. It has permanent commissions to look after issues of legislative interest at times when the Assembly is not in session.
The National Assembly has the power to amend the Constitution; to pass, amend, and repeal laws; to debate and approve national plans for economic development, the State budget, credit and financial programs; and to set guidelines for domestic and foreign policies. It hears the reports from national government and administration agencies and can also grant amnesties. Among its permanent or temporary commissions are those in charge of issues concerning the economy, the sugar industry, food production, industries, transportation and communications, constructions, foreign affairs, public health, defense, and interior order. The National Assembly also has permanent departments that oversee the work of the Commissions, Local Assemblies, Judicial Affairs, and Administration.
The Assembly originated from the nation-wide elections held in 1976 following the ratification of the 1976 Constitution. Elected officials, according to the procedures established by law, met for the first time on 2 December 1976, thus formally setting up the Cuban Parliament. The Constitution, approved in a constitutional referendum on 14 February 1976, empowered the National Assembly as the supreme body of State power.
- See main article: Elections in Cuba
The assembly deputies are nationally elected every five years. Half of the candidates are nominated at public meetings before gaining approval from electoral committees, while the other half are nominated by public solidarity organizations (such as trade unions, farmers' organizations and students' unions).
The Assembly itself elects the 31 members of the Council of State; their terms expire when a new Assembly is elected. The assembly elects the President, Vice President and Secretary of the Council of State, who must report to the National Assembly on all its work and tasks. It also elects the Council of Ministers, the members of the Supreme Court, and the Attorney General's Office of Cuba.
Up to 50% of the candidates must be chosen by the Municipal Assemblies. The candidates are otherwise proposed by nominating assemblies, which comprise representatives of workers, youth, women, students and farmers as well as members of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, after initial mass meetings soliciting a first list of names. The final list of candidates is drawn up by the National Candidature Commission taking into account criteria such as candidates' merit, patriotism, ethical values and revolutionary history.
Presidents of the National Assembly of People's Power
- See main article :List of Presidents of the National Assembly of People's Power (Cuba)
- Blas Roca Calderío 1976–1981
- Flavio Bravo 1981–1990
- Juan Escalona Reguera 1990–1993
- Ricardo Alarcón 1993–2013 
- Esteban Lazo Hernández 2013–present
- Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, 1976, Article 89: "The Council of State is the body of the National Assembly of People’s Power that represents it in the period between sessions, puts its resolutions into effect and complies with all the other duties assigned by the Constitution. It is collegiate and for national and international purposes it is the highest representative of the Cuban state."
- CUBA, Asamblea nacional del Poder popular (National Assembly of the People's Power), Electoral system IPU PARLINE database
- Elections and Events 1991-2001 UCSD Libraries
- "Cuba parliament opens as Fidel Castro visits". BBC World Service. 24 February 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
- (Spanish) Official website