Raul elected President

Havana, Feb 24 (Prensa Latina) Cuba's National Peoples Power Assembly elected Raul Castro Ruz on Sunday as president of the Cuban Council of State for the next five years.

The Cuban lawmakers cast their direct and secret vote this afternoon, when they also elected the nation"s first vice president and five other vice presidents.

Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, incumbent vice president of the Council of State was elected first vice president, while Juan Almeida Bosque, Julio Casas Regueiro, Esteban Lazo Hernandez, Carlos Lage Davila and Abelardo Colome Ibarra are the five vice presidents.

Jose Miguel Miyar Barrueco was reelected as Council of State secretary.
The 31-member ruling body also includes Jose Ramon Balaguer Cabrera, Ramiro Valdes Menendez, Pedro Saez Montejo, Luis Herrera Martinez, Iris Betancourt Tellez, Roberto Fernandez Retamar, Francisco Soberon Valdes, Felipe Perez Roque, Carlos Valenciaga Diaz and Orlando Lugo Fonte.

Thirteen members (41.9 percent) were elected for the first time - Yolanda Ferrer Gomez, Salvador Valdes Mesa, Juan Jose Rabilero Fonseca, Julio Martinez Ramirez and Maria del Carmen Concepcion Gonzalez.

Tania Leon Silveira, Regla Dayami Armenteros Mesa, Ines Maria Chapman Bou, Dignora Montano Perdomo, Zurina Acosta Brook, Guillermo Garcia Frias, Leopoldo Cintra Frias y Alvaro Lopez Miera were also among the newly-elected.

According to the chairman of the National Candidature Commission Amarilys Perez, the Cuban Revolution"s historic generation and the Political Bureau of the Cuban Communist Party are represented in the new Council of State, as are the Young Communist League, government and state leaders and grassroots organizations.

Lawmakers from the health, science, culture and production sectors were also nominated.

The assembly session acknowledged the work performed by those who were not reelected as Council of State members.

The Cuban lawmakers expressed their support to the decision taken by the incumbent Council of State president, Fidel Castro, who, they emphasized "has led us through the path of unity and victory." They referred to Fidel Castro as "our never defeated Commander-in-Chief, who has made Cuba National Hero Jose Marti"s dreams come true.

> Raúl’s keynote address

> Raúl’s biography

> Cuba's National Assembly of People's Power / How It Works

> In pictures: Cubans discuss their new leader's priorities (BBC)