Havana: Fidel Castro, the former communist revolutionary and Cuban political leader, confirmed that he had resigned from the top leadership of the Cuba Communist Party in an article published on Tuesday, after the party approved a raft of economic reforms.
 
Castro said, "Raul knew that I would not accept a formal role in the party today" referring to his brother Raul and his own absence from the party's new Central Committee, elected on Monday.

Castro had served as first secretary in the Central Committee of the party which underpins the country's Communist government since the party's creation in 1965.

The 84 year old Fidel said that he had handed over the functions of the party head to Raul when he transferred power to his brother because of his own declining health.

"Raul has always been who I described as First Secretary and Commander in Chief. He never failed to convey to me the ideas that were planned," Fidel wrote in an article.

The move came after the sixth Communist Party Congress approved an outbreak of measures on Monday aimed at keeping Cuba's centrally planned economy from collapse but without any broad embrace of market-oriented economic change.

The changes inject a modicum of the free market into the island's economy ahead of a vote on Monday expected to officially relieve 84-year-old Castro of his position as party head after more than four decades.

Many of the pro-economic measures have already been adopted over the past year, with the Congress now formally approving them.

Results of the voting on leadership term limits will be presented on Tuesday, when Fidel, who handed power to his brother when he fell ill in 2006, would be finally, officially replaced as party chief.

Raul has rejected broader market-minded reforms like those adopted by China, saying they would be "in open contradiction to the essence of socialism... because they were calling for allowing the concentration of property."

(Agencies)