Cuban legislators have taken the first step to drafting a new constitution.

Current President Miguel Diaz-Canel convened a special session of Cuba's parliament Saturday to propose a list of people to undertake a rewrite.

Delegates gave their approval for a commission presided over by former President Raul Castro and comprised of some 30 others, including Diaz-Canel.

"This gives rise to a process of particular importance for the country and we must all be aware of the duty and the civic responsibility that this demands," Diaz-Canel said.

The rewrite comes as the country's communist leaders seek to adapt to an era in which hundreds of thousands of Cubans work for themselves, remittances help keep the economy afloat and the daughter of Communist Party chief Castro is campaigning for gay rights.