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Cuba: New President to Swear In, Replace Raul Castro

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Cuban President Raul Castro is retiring on Thursday, handing over the rule to his right hand man Miguel Diaz-Canel.

Raul Castro

Meanwhile, observers don't expect much change to herald sweeping reforms to the island's state-run economy and one-party system, one of the last in the world.

First Vice President Diaz-Canel, 57, is seen as a stalwart of the Communist Party, designated by the constitution as Cuba's guiding political force, who has worked his way up the party's ranks over three decades.

Meanwhile, Raul Castro, 86, will retain considerable power as he will remain head of the Communist Party until a congress in 2021.

For many Cubans, struggling with economic hardships, the transition in leader is seen as merely symbolic.

Lawmakers will gather at 0900 ET at a convention center in a leafy Havana suburb to announce the results of their vote on the unopposed candidacy of Diaz-Canel, put forward by a party-backed commission on Wednesday. He will be immediately sworn-in.

The results of votes for unopposed candidates for the vice presidents and members of Cuba's council of state, its top executive body, will also be announced.

Cubans hope the next government can resurrect one of the world's last Soviet-style centrally planned economies that has failed to improve under limited market reforms by Castro.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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