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Cuba Prepares For a Change In Leadership, New President

A two-day session of the Cuban legislature has started with some bureaucratic business as lawmakers prepare to elect the country’s new president

AP
Members of the National Assembly meet during the start of two-day session of the legislature, in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, April 18, 2018. Cuba's legislature opened the two-day session that is to elect a successor to President Castro.

The Cuban government has nominated First Vice President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez as the sole candidate for president, guaranteeing that the 57-year-old engineer will succeed Gen. Raul Castro, 86.

Wednesday’s announcement confirms the long-held expectation that Diaz-Canel would take over from Castro in a transition meant to ensure that the country’s single-party system outlasts the aging revolutionaries who created it.

The nomination must be now approved by the 604 delegates attending the National Assembly, which always approves nominations with total or near-total unanimity.

Nominated as new first vice president is Salvador Valdes Mesa, a 72-year-old Afro-Cuban former union official who has held a long series of high posts in the Cuban government.

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A two-day session of the Cuban legislature has started with some bureaucratic business as lawmakers prepare to elect the country’s new president.

It started with an oath of office read by Leydimara de la Caridad Cardenas Isasi, who at 19 is the youngest member of the more than 600 members of the National Assembly of People’s Power. A young Afro-Cuban, Cardenas represents the central town of Jovellanos. She entered politics when she was 16.

Later, the members of the assembly will vote for president of the country, with the results expected to be announced Thursday.

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