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Diaz-Canel is Cuba’s new President

Miguel Diaz-Canel was formally named Cuba’s new President on Thursday, succeeding Raul Castro, state media said -- a historic handover ending six decades of rule by the Castro brothers.

The 57-year-old Diaz-Canel, who was the only candidate for the presidency, was elected to a five-year term with 603 out of 604 possible votes in the National Assembly, the official Cubadebate website said.

The silver-haired Diaz-Canel -- a top Communist Party figure who has served as first vice president since 2013 -- is the island’s first leader born after the 1959 revolution.

Diaz-Canel was elected in a landmark vote of the National Assembly a day before his 58th birthday.

The chamber erupted into applause as the results were read out, with many of the delegates smiling, and shaking hands warmly with Castro and Diaz-Canel.

As Diaz-Canel walked to the front of the chamber, he high-fived the front line of delegates, embracing Castro as he took to the stage, images broadcast on state television showed.

Then the 86-year-old Castro raised his successor’s arm in the air in victory, prompting another wave of applause from the delegates -- some were in their shirt sleeves, while others wore military fatigues.Diaz-Canel, who has spent years climbing the party ranks, was named the sole candidate for the presidency on Wednesday.

- AFP