Cuba's interim leader Raul Castro has set the date for elections but has given no indication what leadership role, if any, his brother Fidel will play.

Castro picked Oct. 21 for local general elections, with a second round scheduled for Oct. 28.Elections for the National Assembly,held every five years, will berun at an undetermined date.

Municipal, provincial and national representatives are elected by citizens on a local level. Anyone can be nominated to these posts, including non-members of the island's ruling Communist Party — the only party recognized in Cuba's constitution.

But the Assembly is responsible forpickingthe country'spresident, a post Fidel Castro has held since the 1959 revolution.

Ricardo Alarcon, president of the National Assembly, said in Marchhe would nominate Fidel Castro to run for re-election to parliament, the first step toward him becoming Cuba's president.

Castro, who turns 81 in August,ceded power to his brother Raul last yearwhen he underwent emergency intestinal surgery. He has not made a public appearance for almost 11 months but has penned a number of articles — essays often critical of the United States.

Castro'slengthy convalescence has raised questions about whether he will return to power, and what changes Raul might make if he doesn't.

with files from the Associated Press