Miguel Diaz-Canel: Cuban government nominates candidate to replace Castro as president

Miguel Diaz-Canel: Cuban government nominates candidate to replace Castro as president
Little is known about the 57-year-old successor to Raul Castro

The Cuban government has nominated First Vice President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez as its sole candidate for president, confirming expectations that the Communist Party loyalist would be the first person outside the Castro family to lead the country in nearly 60 years.

Wednesday’s nomination essentially guaranteed that Mr Diaz-Canel would be confirmed by the 604 delegates at the National Assembly, who generally approve candidates for president with near-total unanimity.

Salvador Valdes Mesa, a 72-year-old former union official, was nominated as vice president.
Mr Diaz-Canel will succeed current President Raul Castro, the brother of revolutionary Fidel Castro and a symbol of the country’s 1959 transition from an authoritarian government to a communist state. This year’s transition is seen as a test of whether the Cuban Communist Party can continue its one-party rule in the absence of its more well-known leaders.

Mr Diaz-Canel has served as vice president of the powerful Council of State since 2013, when he was appointed by party leadership and approved by the National Assembly. The general public knows little about the 57-year-old former engineer, who has granted no interviews to foreign news outlets.

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