HAVANA -

Retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro is being nominated for a seat in the country's parliament.

Sunday afternoon's TV news broadcast announced he heads a list of 25 names from the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba. There was no indication of whether he intends to accept.

Castro stepped down temporarily as president in 2006 due to a near-fatal illness, and left the presidency for good in 2008. His younger brother Raul has been in charge since.

The elder Castro now spends most of his time out of the public eye, and recently stopped penning his once-regular opinion columns.

The 86-year-old ended weeks of public silence this weekend by issuing a letter to a gathering of the ALBA bloc of Latin American nations. In it, he praised ally Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who is recovering from cancer surgery in Cuba.