Caribbean Net News

Havana on Wednesday announced that a list of electoral candidates will be adopted on December 2, when Cubans should learn whether their ailing leader Fidel Castro will run for the national assembly mandate he needs if he wants to remain president.

Recently elected municipal representatives will meet on that date to nominate the candidates to the provincial and national assemblies, according to a statement read on state-run television.

The 614 deputies chosen in the January 20 elections will pick from among their midst the 31 members of the council of state, whose president is the Caribbean island’s head of state.

Castro, 81, has led the council and Cuba for almost five decades but “provisionally” handed over power to his younger brother and longtime number two Raul, 76, after undergoing intestinal surgery in July 2006.

It is unclear whether the veteran revolutionary leader, who is convalescing in seclusion, will be a candidate.

He has traditionally been proposed as a parliamentary candidate by the city of Santiago de Cuba, considered the cradle of the Cuban revolution.

Cuba-watchers say it is possible he might be elected deputy but not run for re-election to the Council of State.