Accessibility links

Breaking News

Reelected Raul Castro to Step Down in 2018

Cuba's President Raul Castro holds up the ballot of his brother Fidel, also present in the session, for president of the National Assembly during the opening session of the parliament in Havana, Cuba, Feb. 24, 2012.
Newly reelected Cuban President Raul Castro says he plans to step down from power after his second term ends in 2018.

The 81-year-old leader made his announcement in a nationally broadcast speech Sunday shortly after Cuba's National Assembly reelected him to another five-year term. The assembly also appointed 52-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez as Mr. Castro's first vice president.

President Castro, who replaced his ailing brother Fidel in 2008, previously had called for a limit of two five-year terms for Communist Party and government leaders. During his first term, Mr. Castro presided over limited reforms that included the gradual easing of restrictions on travel and personal property.

Earlier Sunday, retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro made a rare public appearance at the opening session of the National Assembly in Havana. Assembly members gave him a standing ovation.