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Cuba's draft constitution limits president's age, allows same-sex marriage

Former Cuban President Raul Castro at a National Assembly's session to present discussing new constitutional reforms. Photo: Jorge Beltran/AFP/Getty Images
Former Cuban President Raul Castro at a National Assembly's session to present discussing new constitutional reforms. Photo: Jorge Beltran/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Raul Castro, who heads a commission that drafts constitutional changes, has proposed amendments that would limit the age of future presidents to 60 and open the path to same-sex marriage, reports the Miami Herald.

Why it matters: Castro, 86, has often called for a "generational change" in the country's leadership, and the move to allow same-sex marriage is a major reverse in a country that once persecuted homosexuals, but later apologized for doing so before advancing LGBT rights.

The details: The changes would also remove the word "Communism" from the Constitution. But maintains that the country’s socialist system is "irrevocable" and the Communist Party is the only legal one.

  • The draft limits presidents to only two terms, and requires them to be no older than 60 at the start of the first term. It also called for a division of power at the government's top leadership, per the Herald.
  • Parliament will continue to elect the President, rather than voters — a change many Cubans want.
  • The president will be less of a "ceremonial" position and have tangible authority and nominate a prime minister.
  • The draft has to be approved by the National Assembly and then voted on through a referendum.

The backdrop: This comes three months after Miguel Diaz-Canel, Castro's hand-picked successor, became president. He is the first leader not named Castro in six decades. Castro, who succeeded his brother Fidel as president in 2006, has remained head of the Communist Party. Diaz-Canel's role is largely symbolic for the time being.