(CNN)Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Saturday named Manuel Marrero Cruz as the country's prime minister, a nonexistent role within Cuban politics for more than four decades.
Cuba names Manuel Marrero Cruz prime minister. He's the first person to hold that position in 43 years
Marrero served as the Cuba's tourism minister for almost 16 years and was named prime minister for a five-year term, according to Cuba's state news agency, ACN.
He was a colonel in Cuba's armed forces before being tasked with heading the state tourism industry, which provided badly needed hard currency for the communist-run island.
Fidel Castro was the country's last prime minister. He held the post from 1959 to December 1976, when he took the title of president of the State Council, a title which replaced the posts of president and prime minister.
Marrero's appointment was unanimously ratified by the 594 deputies of the Cuba's National Assembly during the Assembly's annual end-of-the-year meeting. Parliament's absolute majority is necessary for the appointment, ACN said.
Deputy prime ministers and other members of the Council of Ministers were appointed during Saturday's session.
Diaz-Canel remains head of state and Raul Castro remains the first secretary of the Communist Party, where the real power lies.