Raul Castro to Step Down as Cuba's President Next Year

Next year will be the first time Cuba will not have a leader who is a part of the Castro family. The country's President Raúl Castro told media on Thursday he will be stepping down this spring.

The 86-year-old Castro told the National Assembly meeting in Havana that he will be stepping down on April 19, 2018, reports ABC News.

Castro has been president since his older brother, Fidel Castro, stepped down in 2006. Castro has officially been president since 2008. Castro's brother died in November 2016 at age 90.

The Cuban Parliament also said the municipal elections will be pushed to March and the presidential election in April. Castro was also supposed to end his term in February.

Hurricane Irma, which devastated Cuba in September, was to blame for the delay, the government said.

Castro already said in 2013 that he planned to only serve one more five-year term. Castro and his brother have ruled Cuba since 1959, when the Cuban Revolution ended dictator Fulgencio Batista's reign.

The 57-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel, Cuba's First Vice-President, is expected to take over after Castro steps down, Reuters notes.


“When the National Assembly is constituted, I will have concluded my second and last mandate, and Cuba will have a new president,” Castro said Thursday. "All that is left for me is to wish you and our people a happy new year."

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