Monday, April 18, 2011

Castro announces political term limits

Cuban President Raul Castro addresses the Sixth Communist Party Congress in Cuba, April 16, 2011. Reuters Pictures

Source: Press TV

Cuban President Raul Castro has proposed a series of reforms including term limits for politicians and economic changes during a Communist Party summit.

Castro told 1,000 delegates that public office terms should be limited to two 5 years in an opening speech at the Sixth Party Congress in Cuba on Saturday, The Associated Press reported.

"We have arrived at the conclusion that it is advisable to limit the fundamental political and state offices to a maximum period of two consecutive periods of five years," Castro said.

Promising to launch a “systematic rejuvenation” of the government, Castro also proposed the elimination of food ration coupons and other subsidies, saying they represented an "unbearable burden ... and a disincentive for work."

He also suggested changes to the country's socialist economy, such as decentralization and a new reliance on supply and demand in some sectors.

At the same time, Castro dismissed changes that would allow the privatization of property, and affirmed his commitment to free healthcare and education.

The term limits will not likely effect Castro's position, who was appointed as president by his older brother, former President Fidel Castro, who fell ill in 2006. Formally taking over in 2008, the younger Castro would most likely be termed out in 2018 when he is 86 years old.

The senior Castro was not able to attend the congress, but later wrote that he fully supports his brother's proposals.

Last year, Castro announced layoffs of 500,000 government workers making up 80 percent of the country's entire labor force. Earlier this month, however, he announced that the cuts would be delayed indefinitely.

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