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In a surprise move, Cuba's new parliament has named a rising young star as Raul Castro's first vice president.
Miguel Diaz-Canel, 52, a member of the political bureau who rose through the party ranks in the provinces to become the most visible possible successor to Castro.
Diaz-Canel would succeed Castro if the 81-year-old cannot serve his full term.
Cuba's President Raul Castro has announced that he will stand down from office in 2018 bringing to an end almost 60 years of rule under the family dynasty.
Raul took over from his brother Fidel Castro in 2008, but has spoken about limiting the number of terms for senior government officials including the presidency.
Castro made the announcement in a nationally broadcast speech shortly after the Cuban National Assembly elected him to a second five-year term in the opening session of the new parliament.
He starts his second term immediately. In 2018, Castro will be 86.
The Cuban President Raul Casto says he will retire at the end of his next term.
He has just been sworn in for his second term as President which will expire in five years.