Historic transition: Cuba's parliament picks Castro's successor

Miguel Diaz-Canel is Raul Castro successor in single-party election of one


HAVANA – Cuba's parliament made history Wednesday when members decided that for the first time since 1959 a Castro will not be at the helm of the regime. 

After Esteban Lazo Hernandez was re-elected as the new president of the Cuban National Assembly, First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, 57, was nominated as the only candidate to succeed Raul Castro. 

During the assembly's two-day session, 604 of the new 605 members of the Cuban National Assembly will cast a vote and the National Electoral Commission will announce their decision Thursday, Granma reported.

The legislature will also appoint the 31 members of the Council of State, the island's most powerful government body of the single-party socialist system. Two 1959 revolution fighters, Ramiro Valdes, 85, and Guillermo Garcia, were among their picks. 

The new first vice president will be Salvador Valdes Mesa, a 72-year-old Afro-Cuban former union official. And after serving for a decade as president, Raul Castro, 86, announced earlier this year that he will remain the first secretary of the Communist party until 2021.


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