Nearly 87% of Cubans approve new constitution

Nearly 87 percent of Cubans approved a new constitution enshrining a single-party socialist system and recognizing some economic and social changes, according to the country’s national election body.

The historic referendum was held in the island Sunday, but preliminary results of the vote had not been announced until Monday afternoon.

Some 84.4 percent of the voters turned out in the referendum, National Electoral Commission President Alina Balseiro Gutierrez said in a press conference in Havana on Monday.

Gutierrez said that 86.85 percent of the voters ratified the constitution, while 9 percent said, “No” to the ratification and 4.5 percent left ballots blank.

More than 97 percent of the voters had approved the previous constitution in 1976.

The Communist party would be still the only political party in the country under the new system.

But the new constitution would restructure the government, creating the posts of prime minister and provincial governor and setting term limits for the president.

Recognizing private businesses alongside state ones, foreign investment, the Internet and gender identity are among the other changes of the constitution.