Cuba starts election cycle, likely last of Castro presidency

(Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

HAVANA (AP) — Cuba is starting an electoral process that is expected to end with President Raul Castro stepping down in February.

The Council of State says in Wednesday’s state media that voting for municipal assemblies will take place on Oct. 22. It doesn’t set the date of voting for the country’s parliament, which selects the Council of State and the president. Elections are held every five years.

Castro has said he’ll step down as president in February, although he is expected to remain head of the ruling Communist Party.

Above the municipal level, Cuban elections are choices between candidates preselected by the Cuban Communist Party and related organizations. That guarantees that the country’s nominally representative bodies in practice answer to the president and a small group of high-ranking officials.

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