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Cuban President Raul Castro plans to stay in office until next April before stepping aside, two months longer than originally anticipated, which then would end almost six decades of Castro family rule of the communist country.

The decision to postpone the departure of Castro was taken over "the exceptional situation" caused by the passage of Hurricane Irma last September, which caused considerable damage to housing and other infrastructure and 10 deaths.

Castro had announced that he would retire at the end of his two terms on February 24, the original date of the election of the new National Assembly.

Castro smiles during a recent meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Havana.

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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 specifically mentioned Castro's tenure. The 86-year-old communist politician has been president of Cuba since 2008.

Castro's first vice president, Miguel Diaz Canel, 57, is expected to be Cuba's next president, even as Castro remains the leader of the Caribbean island nation's communist party.

This is the first time since the late Fidel Castro reintroduced a limited election in 1976, that the government chose to change the dates of the elections.


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