Raul Castro stepping down as Cuba's president in April

AFP Raul Castro to step down as Cuba's president in April 2018

AFP Raul Castro to step down as Cuba's president in April 2018

Cuba's National Assembly has extended its term by two months, until April, a sign that Raul Castro will remain in the presidency longer than expected.

The electoral process started on November 26 with the election of the municipal councilors, and "therefore, it is impossible for the next Legislature to begin its mandate on February 24, 2018 as planned", said the news release.

Castro was expected to step down February 28 at the end of his second term, ending an era of his family's rule on the island nation.

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Cuban officials made a decision to push back the highly anticipated transition because the government in September delayed legislative elections in the wake of damage caused by Hurricane Irma.

The elder Castro died in 2016 and the upcoming election will mark the first time neither brother has ruled the country since they took power in 1959. Castro is expected to be replaced by 'First Vice President Miguel Diaz Canel'. With the current council of state - the powerful group Castro heads - also staying until mid-April, it ensures that the 86-year-old leader will remain in power until then.

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