25 February 2013, 02:10

Raul Castro re-elected as President of Cuba announces his retirement in 2018

Raul Castro re-elected as President of Cuba announces his retirement in 2018

Cuba’s National Assembly has appointed Raul Castro to his second five-year term in office as president. He announced that he will retire after the term ends in 2018.

Castro made the announcement in a nationally broadcast speech shortly after the Cuban National Assembly elected him to a second five-year term in the opening session of the new parliament.

In a surprise move, the new parliament named a rising young star as his first vice president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, 52, a member of the political bureau who rose through the party ranks in the provinces to become the most visible possible successor to Castro. Diaz-Canel would succeed Castro if he cannot serve his full term.

Raul Castro, 81, who officially replaced his ailing brother as president in 2008, has repeatedly called for senior leaders to hold office for no more than two, five-year terms.

He starts his second term immediately. In 2018, Castro will be 86.

Along with Raul Castro, elected to the assembly were another thirty people. Castro’s first vice president is 52-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel.

At the meeting the name of the new National Assembly president was announced. Esteban Lazo was elected to take over from Ricardo Alarcon.

Cuba: first time in 20 years new president of parliament

Esteban Lazo has been elected to preside over the National Assembly of the People's Power – the top body of state power in Cuba for the subsequent five years.

The decision was taken by the Cuban MPs of the newly elected Parliament at its first meeting on Sunday.

Lazo, who turns 69 on February 26th, replaces 75-year-old Ricardo Alarcon, head of Cuba's legislature since 1993.

Voice of Russia, AFP, Reuters, TASS

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