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Cuba to revamp constitution

June 3, 2018

A commission led by former President Raul Castro will be responsible for rewriting Cuba's 1976 constitution. Potential changes include market reforms and a presidential term limit.

Former Cuban President Raul Castro
Image: Reuters/S. Creutzmann

Cuban lawmakers have approved a commission that will be tasked with updating the country's Soviet-era constitution.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel convened a special session of Cuba's parliament on Saturday that saw legislators approve the commission to be led by former President Raul Castro and some 30 others, including Diaz-Canel.

The current constitution was written in 1976 at the height of the Cold War.

"This gives rise to a process of particular importance for the country and we must all be aware of the duty and the civic responsibility that this demands," Diaz-Canel said to nearly 600 delegates at the National Assembly.

Read more: As the Castro era ends, Cubans grumble at pace of reforms

Potential market reforms, age limits

One of the expected changes would limit presidents to two five-year terms and impose an age limit – a huge change considering the near 60-year leadership of Castro and his late brother Fidel, who both ruled into their 80s.

Another potential change would incorporate the market reforms of recent years into the constitution and could regulate private property in a limited way.

Read more: Fidel Castro: Cuba's hero and dictator

Castro has already ruled out eliminating the country's single-party system.

The 86-year-old Castro only handed power to Diaz-Canel in April after he had served two terms, following decades of rule by Fidel Castro.

During his time as president, Castro allowed some careful market opening and restored some US ties, but his government was also accused of repressing opposition.

law/cmk (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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