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Miguel Diaz-Canel has been the presumptive next president of Cuba since 2013, when Raul Castro named the laconic former provincial official to the important post of first vice president and lauded him as "neither a novice nor an improviser," high praise in a system dedicated to continuity over all.The first clues to the mystery of Cuba's future power structure were revealed early Thursday when Raul Castro handed the presidency to Diaz-Canel, who took office when the 604-member National Assembly said 603 of its members had approved the 57-year-old as the sole official candidate for the top government position.With Castro watching from the audience, Diaz-Canel made clear that for the moment he would defer to the man who founded Cuba's communist system along with his brother. Diaz-Canel said he would retain Castro's Cabinet through at least July, when the National Assembly meets again.Castro said he foresees the white-haired electronics engineer serving two five-year terms as leader of the Cuban government, and taking the helm of the Communist Party, the country's ultimate authority, also for two five-year terms – when Castro leaves the powerful position in 2021 .The plan laid out by Raul Castro Thursday would leave Diaz-Canel as the dominant figure in Cuban politics until 2031 .
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