Havana, Feb 25 – The Cuban National Assembly began its Eighth Legislature with goal of continuing to push forward with the updating of the island’s socio-economic model, a process through which the government is aiming to strengthen socialism.
The Parliament was constituted of 612 members for the next five years, who were elected on February 3 by almost eight million citizens, elections in which about 90 percent of registered voters in this Caribbean country participated.
At Havana’s Conference Center, parliamentarians confirmed Raul Castro as the President of the Council of State, a 31-member body of which more than half are new members, chosen by direct and secret vote, including 13 women, and 12 black and mixed-race members.
Miguel Diaz-Canel was elected as first Vice President of the Council, representing the National Assembly between its two annual regular sessions.
Previously, legislators elected Esteban Lazo as President of the unicameral parliament, which represents diverse societal sectors, with 48.86 percent of women, 37.09 percent black and mixed-race people, 82.68 percent of university graduates, with an average age of 48 years.
The new assembly is distinguished by 67 percent of its membership being new delegates since the last legislature.
During the closure of the constitutional event, attended by the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, Raul Castro stressed the tasks before the Assembly regarding the transformations in the island.
The president stated that the updating process has top priority, and has begun to enter a phase that is deeper, broader and more complex. Raul Castro also analyzed the importance of ensuring the continuity of the Revolution and the construction of socialism “through the gradual and orderly transfer to new generations of the main posts.”
During his speech to legislators, the statesman recalled the pro tempore presidency recently assumed by Cuba at the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), something he described as having “particular relevance for its vindication of the Cuban people’s struggle for sovereignty and self-determination.”
Raul Castro also congratulated the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, for his February 17 election victory, and wished a speedy recovery to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.
In statements to Prensa Latina, several parliamentarians confirmed in their posts considered the contribution to the socio-economic updating of the country to be among the greatest challenges before them, through a process where the Government aims to achieve greater efficiency and productivity within socialism.
Source: Prensa Latina