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Cuban voters line up outside a polling station in Santa Clara. Photo by YAMIL LAGE/AFP/Getty Images.

Nearly 7 million Cubans, or 78.5% of eligible voters, participated in one-party parliamentary elections Sunday that will ultimately help choose the nation's next president, reports Telesur. Those elected to the 605 member National Assembly will vote April 16 to choose a new Council of State, a 31-member executive body headed by the president.

  • Why it matters: Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel is widely expected to be named president, marking the first time in six decades that someone not named Castro will rule Cuba.
  • But, but, but: Sunday's one-party elections indicate the Communist government will remain firmly in power for the foreseeable future, especially as Raúl Castro continues to serve as secretary of the party. Even as the island's economy flounders under the weight of international sanctions, Diaz-Canel is expected to carry out the same agenda Cuba has followed for the past 60 years.

Go deeper

26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of 16 senators, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.

Progressives pressure Schumer to end filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

A progressive coalition is pressuring Chuck Schumer on his home turf by running a digital billboard in Times Square urging the new majority leader to end the Senate filibuster.

Why it matters: Schumer is up for re-election in 2o22 and could face a challenger, and he's also spearheading his party's broader effort to hold onto its narrow congressional majorities.

5 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.