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Fidel Castro Nominated for Re-Election

Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro has been nominated as a candidate for the National Assembly, paving the way for him to remain head of state.

Castro's name was put forward Sunday, by municipal representatives in Santiago de Cuba, where he has traditionally been nominated.

Castro must be re-elected to the National Assembly in order to serve as a member of the country's top executive body, the Council of State. The president of the 31-member council is Cuba's head of state.

The January 20 election will take place almost 18 months after Fidel Castro underwent intestinal surgery and handed power to his brother Raul Castro on a provisional basis.

The 81-year-old Fidel Castro has not been seen in public since the July 2006 operation. But he has appeared in official photographs and videos and regularly is credited with essays on international themes. Details of his health are a state secret.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.