Cuba extends assembly’s term, apparently delaying transition

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HAVANA (AP) — Cuba’s National Assembly has extended its term by two months, until April 2018, a signal that Raul Castro will remain in the presidency longer than expected.

Castro had said that he expected to leave the presidency in February. The National Assembly’s announcement did not explicitly say that Castro would remain until April but under Cuba’s constitution, he will retain his position until then barring extraordinary action to replace him. The announcement did not mention such action.

The announcement said the terms of the National Assembly and Council of State, Cuba’s highest state body, were being extended because the damage wrought by Hurricane Irma in September forced the delay of Cuba’s political cycle. Castro is expected to be replaced by First Vice President Miguel Diaz Canel.