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Cuba to start historic transition a day earlier

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By the Associated Press

A legislative session that will see a historic political transition in Cuba is going to start one day earlier than expected.

FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2014 file photo, Cuba’s President Raul Castro, left, shakes hands with Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, at the closing of the legislative session at the National Assembly in Havana, Cuba. Cuban state media reported Monday, April 16, 2018, that the government has moved up the start of a session of the National Assembly in which Castro plans to step down and is expected to pass the presidency to the 57-year-old vice president. The session will now start Wednesday, April 17. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File/ MANILA BULLETIN)

FILE – In this Dec. 20, 2014 file photo, Cuba’s President Raul Castro, left, shakes hands with Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, at the closing of the legislative session at the National Assembly in Havana, Cuba. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Cuban state media reported Monday that the government moved up the start of a meeting of the National Assembly in which President Raul Castro plans to step down and hand over the office to a younger successor.

The session will now start Wednesday instead of Thursday.

Website Cubadebate said the session was moved up to prepare for a “session of such importance.”

Castro is expected to pass the presidency to 57-year-old Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel. Raul Castro took over from his brother Fidel in 2008 and the two have headed Cuba’s government in one form or another since 1959.

Raul Castro, 87, plans to remain head of Cuba’s Communist Party, a position that leaves him with broad authority, including oversight of his replacement.

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