MiamiHerald / The Cuban government has announced that it will postpone a historic presidential election scheduled in two months’ time that was expected to result in a generational political transition and Cuban leader Raúl Castro stepping down from office.

Castro will remain in power at least until April 19, the date now set for election of a new legislature and the president of the Councils of State and Ministers, positions that Castro currently holds. The official announcement, published in the Communist Party newspaper Granma on Thursday, said the decision was made because of the impact of Hurricane Irma, which hit Cuba as a category 5 storm in September.

Storm recovery led to a delay in municipal elections – the first step in a process that was to culminate in the election of a new National Assembly on Feb. 24 and the election of a new president. Castro has said since 2013 that he planned to retire on that date, the end of his second term in power after succeeding his late brother Fidel.

The U.S. Department of State and the White House did not immediately react to the news.

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