Cuban Vote Signals Future of Castro

He could resign by leaving name off ballot next year
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 20, 2007 7:44 PM CST
In this photo released by Cuba's Juventud Rebelde newspaper, President Fidel Castro shakes hands with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during a meeting in Havana, Saturday, Oct.12, 2007. (AP Photo/Juventud...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – National parliamentary elections—which could mark a formal end to Fidel Castro's rule—will be held on Jan. 20, the AP reports. The ailing Castro must be re-elected to Cuba's National Assembly to regain his position as president. If he withholds his name from the ballot, "he is effectively resigning," said one analyst.

"Very few people imagine that Fidel will return to power in an active position," said a former US diplomat, adding that interim leader Raul Castro, Fidel's brother, is the likely successor. The announcement sets a date several months earlier than expected for the elections, which come 18 months after Castro handed over day-to-day power to his brother.