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Raul Castro Gives Closing Speech of Cuban Parliament Session

President will retire in 2018, new 10 year terms introduced
24 February 2013

Cuban President Raul Castro gave the closing remarks of the parliamentary session that set up the new National Assembly of People's Power with its new president, and elected the new Council of State.

Raul said that upcoming modifications of the country's constitution include the limit of a top 10-year period for main state and government posts, also with limited age to occupy such responsibilities. However, he said that in his specific case, this will be his last term in office.

The deputies elected Miguel Diaz-Canel as first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, in a decision of historic significance because it is a step towards the future configuration of the country's leadership, through a progressive and orderly transfer of power to the new generations, said Raul.

He recalled that 41.9 percent of the members elected to the Council of State are women, 38.6 percent is made up of black of colored persons, while the average age of its members is 57 years, with 61.3 of them having been born after the 1959 triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

At the same time, said Raul, the Parliament underwent a 67.26 renovation of its members, with 48.86 percent of women, 37.9 persons of color, while 82.68 percent of deputies graduated from higher education, and the average age is 48 years.

Raul said that the abovementioned data confirm the quality of the Cuban electoral system and the potential of the people's power bodies, including the national parliament to meet the important duties established by the country's constitution.

In that regard, Raul said that the current legislature is in charge of undertaking an intense legislative work to strengthen institutional order and to implement the social and economic guidelines adopted by the Communist Party, which now entail far-reaching, deeper and more complex issues.

Referring to the election of Esteban Lazo as new Parliament president, Raul said that it is an honor that the assembly is being chaired by a black man of humble family, a former sugar cane cutter, who was able to get an economy diploma after huge effort and without abandoning his political responsibilities.

Referring to the transformations taking place in the country Raul said that they will continue to progress with no haste but without any pause, by protecting the people and by climbing the barriers of an obsolete mentality in order to favor the action of productive forces and the advancement of Cuban economy, along with the protection of the social achievements of the Cuban Revolution, such as education, public health, culture, sports.

The Cuban president stressed the need to strongly fight illegalities, indiscipline and any act of corruption.
Raul reiterated the Cuban people's congratulations to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa for his electoral victory and he conveyed fraternal greetings to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and his people by ratifying the solidarity by the Cuban Parliament and the people of Cuba.

Raul said that Cuba will continue to demand the release of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in the U.S. and he concluded his speech by citing the concept of the word Revolution, first given by Fidel Castro in the year 2000.

Original story from the Cuban News Agency

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