Diaz-Canel elected by Cuban parliament to second presidential term

Havana, Apr 19 (EFE).- Miguel Diaz-Canel, the first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), the country’s only legal political party, was elected by lawmakers on Wednesday to a second – and final – five-year term as president of the communist country.

Diaz-Canel, 62, the only candidate for president, received 97.66 percent of the votes of lawmakers in the National Assembly of People’s Power (ANPP), the country’s top legislative body, obtaining the votes of 459 of the ANPP’s 462 members, according to the official count provided by the National Electoral Council (CEN).

Reelected to the post of vice president of the republic was Salvador Valdes Mesa, who has served as Diaz-Canel’s No. 2 for the past five years, receiving 93.4 percent of the votes, or 439 of the 462 votes cast.

As soon as his appointment was made official, Diaz-Canel nominated Manuel Marrero Cruz for the post of prime minister, a post he has occupied for the past five years.

Diaz-Canel’s first mandate was marked by the serious crisis the country’s has been – and still is – suffering due to the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the tightening of US sanctions and the mistakes the executive branch has made in internal economic and monetary policy.

Evidence of the ongoing crisis can be found in the scarcity of basic products – food, medicine and fuel – rampant inflation, frequent power blackouts and unprecedented emigration, some of it legal and some illegal.

Before electing the president and vice president, the ANPP selected its top leadership, reelecting its prior leadership board with no changes and almost unanimously.

Reelected as president of the ANPP was Esteban Lazo, 79, a member of the PCC politburo and serving in that post since 2013. He obtained 443 of the 462 possible votes, or 96.1 percent.

Ana Maria Mari Machado and Homero Acosta – also members of the PCC – were reelected as vice president and secretary of the ANPP, respectively, with 99.13 percent and 98.26 percent of the ballots.

Meanwhile, membership of the Council of State, the ANPP’s administrative body in between the legislature’s twice-yearly sessions, was partially renewed, although the main officials were retained. Its 31 members obtained between 98-100 percent of the votes cast.

On March 26, the 470 candidates for Cuba’s parliamentary elections were elected to the 470 ANPP posts, the vast majority of those lawmakers and officials being members of the PCC.

EFE –/bp

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