Cuban President Raul Castro, left, will be replaced by First Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel this Thursday. (ISMAEL FRANCISCO / AFP/GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO)

The Cuban government has selected First Vice President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez as the candidate to succeed President Raul Castro.

President Castro will, however, remain head of the Communist Party.

Diaz-Canel gained prominence in central Villa Clara province as the top Communist Party official, a post equivalent to governor.

During his tenure, people described him as a hard-working, modest-living technocrat dedicated to improving public services.

He became Higher Education Minister in 2009 before moving into the vice presidency.

The first president outside the Castro family in nearly 60 years will be tasked with ensuring that the country’s system outlasts the aging revolutionaries who created it.

-News24/The Star