Raul Castro confirms decision to step down next year

Cuban president Raul Castro on Thursday affirmed that he will leave office in April 2018, when the country's new national legislature convenes to elect a leader for the next five years.

 "When the National Assembly convenes, I will conclude my second and last mandate as leader of the state and government, and Cuba will have a new president,"  Castro as said.

 The Cuban Parliament approved on Thursday a decision to extend Castro's mandate for two more months until April 2018, citing the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Irma to the country in September.

 Raul Castro, who took over power from his brother Fidel Castro in 2008 and was re-elected to a second term in 2013, has overseen the modernisation of Cuba's socialist system and spearheaded a series of reforms.


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