13:35 GMT16 May 2021
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    Raul Castro, the 86-year-old now former head of the country's Council of State and Cabinet became the head of the Cuban state in 2008, succeeding his older brother and Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. Miguel Diaz-Canel is now the first politician outside the Castro family to govern Cuba.

    Cuba's National Assembly of People's Power (parliament) elected Miguel Diaz-Canel as the new president of the country on April 19 with 99,83% of the country's parliamentary delegates voted in his favor. Miguel was the only candidate presented for the vote. He had previously held the post of first deputy chairman of the State Council of Cuba and was nominated for the highest post on April 18. After being sworn in to the new post, he promised to "continue the revolution" and noted that his predecessor, Raul Castro, will continue to make essential decisions.

    "Raul will remain in political vanguard due to his merits […] Raul is Fidel's best student. He took the lead of the revolution in a dire economic situation, managed to surpass his personal pain and fulfill his duty," the new Cuban president said.

    READ MORE: Cuba Formally Proposes Miguel Diaz-Canel to Replace Raul Castro as President

    He noted that people elected to key positions during the parliament's session will not pursue the restoration of capitalism on Cuba and added that only the Cuban communist party can guarantee nation's unity.

    Diaz-Canel promised in his speech that he will continue to keep the country's socio-economic model up to date, while also preserving its socialist angle and the ruling position of the communist party. He also assured that Cuban foreign policy will not change and that it will not sacrifice its sovereignty or independence. He noted that Cuba will not make concessions under pressure or threats.

    READ MORE: Cuba Elects New National Assembly to Relinquish Castro's Presidency

    Raul Castro, the previous president of Cuba, assumed his post in 2008 after a transitional period that lasted for two years. He began his second tenure in 2013 and promised that he would not seek re-election, resigning from office in April 2018. After Diaz-Canel's inauguration, he announced that the new president will only be able to serve a maximum of two terms, each of them lasting for 5 years.

    Under Cuban legislation, the president is elected by the parliamentarians after a special commission holds a meeting with every candidate and submits the final list to be voted on by lawmakers.


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