Some 8 million Cubans will vote on Sunday to ratify the island’s new National Assembly, paving the way for the selection of a new leader when President Raul Castro steps down next month.
The 605 candidates elected to parliament on Sunday will be tasked with designating Cuba’s 31-member Council of State — the body that will ultimately hand-pick the new president in April, thereby ending the Castro family’s political reign over the communist-run island after almost six decades.
Raul Castro took over the presidency in 2006 from his ailing brother Fidel, who led Cuba for almost 50 years after seizing power during the 1959 revolution. Sunday’s vote will be the first since Fidel died in 2016.
The first session of the new parliament will be held on April 19, when the successor to 86-year-old President Raul Castro will be elected. It is expected to be Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel.