EFE via 14ymedio, 20 March 2018 — The 605 deputies elected in the general elections held this month in Cuba have begun the process of consultations for the naming of the candidates for the State Council, the highest government body of the country, which will be headed by the president that replaces Raúl Castro.
The Council of State, according to a Tuesday cover article in the state newspaper Juventud Rebelde, “has a collegial character and, for national and international purposes, is the supreme representation of the Cuban State,” as well as being the body that carries out the accords of the National Assembly, among other functions.
The president of the National Candidacy Committee, Gisela Duarte, said that “these days” consultations are being held among the deputies in order to shape a proposal that will be put to the vote on April 19 after, on that same date, the new National Assembly is constituted.
On that date it will be known with certainty who will succeed the current president, Raúl Castro, 86, at the head of the island, although it is assumed that the person who will take over will be the current first vice president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, 57.
Before the election of the Council of State, the deputies will also have to designate, by voting, the president, vice-president and secretary of the new National Assembly. As of the most recent elections, 338 new faces are joining the National Assembly, which will be more than half — 53.2% to be precise — female.
In the March 11 elections, with a participation of 85.6%, Raul Castro was elected deputy with 98.77% of the votes in his district in the municipality of the Second Front, in Santiago de Cuba, while Miguel Diaz-Canel obtained 92.85% as a candidate from the province of Villa Clara.
One of the unknowns about the next Council of State is whether the historical figures of Revolution, who are very old and who until now have been on the frontline of politics, will be a part of it, or whether they will follow the example of Raul Castro and retire to make way for generational renewal.
Among them are the second secretary of the Communist Party, José Ramón Machado Ventura, 86, and the commander and vice president, Ramiro Valdés, 85.
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