Cuba inched closer to electing its future leader on Saturday, after the government announced elections for regional and national legislators will take place on March 11. National legislators will in turn vote for Cuba’s next president and successor to Raul Castro, who is set to step down in April, Xinhua news agency reported. More than eight million Cubans will be eligible to vote for the members of their provincial assemblies and the National Assembly.
In the lead-up to the March vote, recently-constituted municipal assemblies are to hold an extraordinary session on January 21 to nominate the candidates for the regional and national assemblies. As part of this second electoral stage, half of the candidates will be nominated on that date by the more than 12,000 municipal delegates who were elected in November.
The other half have already been chosen by a committee representing the country’s main social organisations. Once the approximately 600 members of the National Assembly have been elected, the new legislature will convene on April 19 to elect a new president of the State Council, the post Castro currently occupies. “When the National Assembly is constituted, I will have concluded my second and last term leading the State and Government, and Cuba will have a new president,” Castro had said recently.
Raul Castro, 86, officially came to power in 2008, after his brother Fidel Castro was forced to retire for health reasons. Raul Castro has since spearheaded numerous reforms to modernise the country’s aging socialist system.