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Special Report: Election Watch 2018 (ISSN 17414474)

Replacement for Castro due to be elected

Cuba’s electoral system is designed to perpetuate the Communist system. It allows municipal council elections every two and a half years, and mayoral and parliamentary elections every five years. This process will culminate this year, on 19 April 2018, but for the first time without a Castro as president. The 86-year-old president has pledged to step aside after two five-year terms since 2008, making way for the first non-Castro to hold power in Cuba in the life of the half century-old revolution (albeit he is expected to remain on as PCC leader and head of the armed forces, in effect guaranteeing that he remains the power behind the throne). A majority of international observers expect the 57-year-old Díaz Canel to replace him – albeit nothing is ever predictable in Cuban politics.

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