Castro hopes to retire in 5 years

SANTIAGO DE CUBA (Reuter) - President Fidel Castro, declaring that 'even marathon runners get tired', said on Wednesday night that he hoped he would not still be president in five years' time.

Asked about this during a news conference in this eastern city, Mr Castro, 66, replied: 'Well, let's hope it won't be necessary because, with the level of work we have at the moment, five years are a very, very, very serious thing . . . So I hope not.' He left the issue open by saying he would have to see how nature treated him.

Cubans turned out in large numbers on Wednesday to vote in one-party national elections. More than 85 per cent of the country's 7.8 million registered voters had cast their ballots before midday, the National Electoral Commission said.