Peter Hoskin

Global shifts

Global shifts
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It has just been confirmed that Fidel Castro – leader of Cuba since 1959 – is to retire as President of his country. 

Whilst it's certainly a moment for the history books, it's difficult to see what his stepping-down will change in the short-to-medium term.  After all, Castro “temporarily” handed over power to his brother Raul in 2006, and – despite some vague overtures to America – the latter has failed to stamp his mark on either Cuban politics or society.  With the National Assembly expected to elect Raul as Fidel Casto's full-time successor on 24th February, the stasis is set to continue. 

(If anything, US-Cuban relations may deteriorate even further; especially given the bad blood between John McCain and the Cuban leadership.) 

Meanwhile, it's been an eventful evening in the Pakistani elections.  Be sure to catch-up with Rani Singh's Coffee House coverage, which discusses all the power-brokingviolencevote-rigging – and shock defeats.  So far, unofficial results show that the PML(N) and PPP opposition parties are well ahead of the ruling, pro-Musharraf  PML(Q) party, although no group has attained an overall majority.  One of the more likely outcomes, then, is a coalition between the PML(N) and the PPP; a coalition which would hugely undermine Musharraf's grip on power. 

UPDATE: The pro-Musharraf PML(Q) party has conceded defeat.