Assembly legislators chose Miguel Diaz-Canel as Cuba’s president for another five years on Wednesday.
Raul Castro, former president and revolutionary leader, addressed newly elected parliamentarians during the morning session. The meeting concluded with the election of Diaz-Canel as the lone candidate.
He received 459 votes out of 460 cast, while Vice President Salvador Valdes Mesa received 439 votes.
The presidential elections are not held immediately. The National Assembly selects the country’s leader from among its members, a system that dates back to 1976, under the late legendary leader Fidel Castro.
For many, Diaz Canel’s entrance marked the continuation of a one-party regime and the dominance of a planned economy dominated by state-run firms on the island.
As a result, the island has witnessed its largest anti-government demonstrations since the Cuban revolution. On July 11, 2021, thousands of Cubans came to the streets in protest over blackouts, seeking better living conditions.
Diaz-Canel, a 62-year-old electrical engineer, took over as president from Raul Castro in 2013 and as leader of the Cuban Communist Party in 2018.
He has guided the country through its worst economic crisis in decades, with food, medication, and fuel shortages caused by US sanctions and the devastating impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.