Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Manuel Marrero Cruz was appointed to a five-year term as prime minister of Cuba Saturday by president Miguel Díaz-Canel.
Marrero Cruz is the first person to hold that role in the country in more than 40 years, serving under a new constitution that aims to decentralize power in Cuba. The new constitution was approved by voters in February.
Carlos Alzugaray, a former senior Cuban diplomat, told NBC News the role of prime minister "is a mechanism to have a more collective government and not have power concentrated in one person."
The late Fidel Castro was the last person to serve as prime minister before abolishing the office in 1976, and served as president of the island nation between 1976 and 2008.
Marrero Cruz served as tourism minister for 16 years before he was appointed to the office of prime minister.
The National Assembly has ratified Marrero Cruz's appointment and the Communist Party, headed by 88-year-old Raúl Castro, who is Fidel's brother, is set to confirm it as well.
Raúl Castro, who served as Cuba's president from 2008 to 2018, in 2006 stated that the Cuban government would be restructured because Fidel Castro could not substituted by a single person.
"Without charismatic leadership, it's important to distribute government roles," said Arturo López-Levy, assistant professor at Holy Names University and a former analyst with Cuba's interior ministry.