HAVANA, Cuba — During his 47-year rule, Fidel Castro developed a leadership model few management schools would endorse as a healthy approach to institutional robustness.
Government ministers, state company executives, hospital directors and other top figures tended to remain in power until brought down by illness, error or scandal. There was little precedent for stepping aside gracefully for younger leaders to gain management experience. Retirement was a kind of capitulation, a sign of weakness.
So President Raul Castro’s declaration in 2011 that he wanted the government to implement term limits for top posts was a clear and relatively radical break with his older brother’s iron-man leadership philosophy.
“We have arrived at the conclusion that it’s advisable to limit the fundamental political and state offices to a maximum period of two consecutive terms of five years,” Castro said during a Communist Party Conference—the only such meeting in the previous 15 years—to set the island’s long-term agenda.
The term limits would also apply to the presidency, meaning that the 81-year-old Raul Castro—who is set to kick off his second term this month—will be termed out of office in February 2018 at age 86.
A constitutional change is still required to enshrine the term limits in law. But as with almost any political decision, if Castro wants it, it will be so.
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