Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel had won a second five-year term in a parliamentary vote for which he was the sole candidate in a country where political opposition is illegal.
Diaz-Canel’s bid was confirmed by 97.66 percent of votes cast in the Communist Party of Cuba-aligned National Assembly, according to its president Esteban Lazo announced in the chamber.
Diaz-Canel, aged 62 took over the reins in 2018 as Cuba’s first civilian leader after nearly 60 years of hegemony by the Castro brothers.
His first five years in office were marked by the worst economic crisis in three decades and a widely criticised response to historic anti-government protests which triggered a tightening of US sanctions.
Under Diaz-Canel, an electronic engineer by training, Cuba sought to accelerate the opening of the economy to small businesses in hundreds of sectors previously under exclusive state control.
Two years ago, he initiated a monetary reform that ended artificial parity with the US dollar but fueled inflation and sharply devalued the local currency — another blow to an ailing economy hard hit by US sanctions in place since 1962 and a tourism dip brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Analysts, the reforms under Diaz-Canel do not suggest a complete and comprehensive transition to a mixed economy” of private and public enterprises,.
Cubans face daily shortages of food, medicine and fuel, and since the arrival of mobile internet in 2018 have increasingly taken to social media to voice their dissatisfaction.