Cuban assembly approves draft of new constitution

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(VOVWORLD) - Cuba's National Assembly on Saturday approved an update of the country's constitution, the final step before a national referendum expected to approve the new charter in February.

The new constitution contains more continuity than change, although it recognizes the de-facto modernization of Cuban society over the last decade. The constitution maintains Cuba as a centrally planned economy ruled by a single Communist Party, but recognizes private property for the first time and paves the way for a separate referendum on legalizing gay marriage.

It also creates the role of Prime Minister alongside the current president, as well as provincial governors.

The new constitution also recognizes worker-owned cooperatives for the first time as a legal form of production in every sector of the economy, while maintaining Cuba's largely inefficient and stagnant state-run industries as the central means of production.

Closing the National Assembly, President Miguel Diaz-Canel said Cuba’s economic target is at least 1.5 percent growth rate in 2019.