Cuban parliament extends President Castro's mandate for two months

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Cuba's leader, Raúl Castro, will step down as president in April, roughly two months later than anticipated, the government announced on Thursday.

The announcement was made Thursday by the Cuban State Press.

The date of the elections was pushed back due to the devastation that Hurricane Irma had on Cuba in September.

Castro had announced on several occasions that he would not accept another term in the presidency at the end of the current legislature in February 2018.

The delay in the transfer of power opens up more questions about who could be Castro's successor.

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When Castro steps down as president in April, Cuba will make a transition to the first non-Castro president in more than 40 years.

There was no mention of Diaz-Canel's role in the official announcement.

Some Cuban dissidents have noted what they consider "lack of leadership" by the Cuban vice president, who has issued harsh statements about the United States and the Cuban opposition in a leaked video.

Canel has pledged to continue Raul Castro's policies, including limited growth of private enterprise as part of the country's planned economy, single party rule, and tight government control of virtually all aspects of life for Cubans. Fidel Castro died in November 2016.