Cuba's Alarcon says unsure on Castro's re-election

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QUITO, Oct 25 (Reuters) Cuban National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon said today it was impossible to say whether convalescing Fidel Castro would be in a condition to be re-elected next year as leader of the Communist island.

Castro, 81, who has not appeared in public for 15 months, is suffering from an undisclosed intestinal illness and handed over power to his brother Raul last year.

''I cannot predict whether he is going to be available to be president of the state, but I also cannot say whether I will keep being a lawmaker,'' Alarcon said in a visit to Quito.

''Revolutionaries never retire,'' he said.

Cuba's assembly has to decide in March next year whether Fidel Castro can be ratified as head of state. Many analysts believe a stable transfer of power to Raul Castro has already taken place.

Castro ceded power in July 2006 for the first time since his 1959 revolution after emergency surgery. He has appeared in pre-taped television interviews, but has given no indication whether he intends to resume office.

Reuters AB DB0002

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