The Cuban government on Thursday approved Miguel Diaz-Canel, 57-year-old First Vice President, as the sole candidate to succeed current Cuban President Raul Castro.
The transition will ensure that the country’s single-party system stays in place.
The certain approval by the Cuban National Assembly marks the first time in nearly six decades that someone outside the Castro family will be in the country’s highest government office.
For the first time since 1959, someone without the Castro name -- Miguel Diaz-Canel -- is expected to be names as the next president of Cuba on Thursday.
Diaz-Canel is the country’s first vice president under Raul Castro, the leader of the communist nation since he took over for his ailing brother, Fidel, in 2008. Diaz-Canel, 57, was personally picked by Castro to ensure the continuation of one of the globe’s last surviving communist states.
As the lone candidate for successor, Diaz-Canel's presidency is essentially clear since Cuba’s national assembly approves all executive branch proposals by margins of 95 percent or higher.
Despite the title transfer, Raul Castro will still be the most powerful person in Cuba, as he will continue to be the leader of the Communist Party on the island.
Some of the issues Diaz-Canel will face include a stagnant economy at home, with growing disenchantment on the island with slow market reforms Castro introduced in 2011.
The country is also receiving fewer dollars from American tourists, as President Donald Trump has reinforced some restrictions eased under the administration of former President Barack Obama.