Governor resignation sparks power struggle in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN (Reuters) – The resignation of Puerto Rico’s governor after mass protests has sparked a succession combat, and the winner could be a Washington company lawyer indirectly linked to his administration, which has been dogged through corruption scandals.

Police Officers stand guard with the aid of a barricade on a boulevard that leads to La Fortaleza, the authentic residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico, and where protests calling for the resignation of Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello passed off, in Outdated San Juan, Puerto Rico July 26, 2019. REUTERS/Marco Bello

Governor Ricardo Rosselló mentioned on Wednesday he would step down on Aug. 2 Within The face of public anger over the release of profane chat messages and embezzlement charges towards two former administration officers.

In Step With the U.S. territory’s constitution, Secretary of Justice Wanda Vázquez is subsequent in line to succeed Rosselló, according to present Cabinet vacancies.

Protesters who pressured Rosselló from office have vowed to oppose Vázquez, saying she is too on the subject of the disgraced governor.

That has induced leaders of Rosselló’s Pro-statehood Party to seem to a former Puerto Rico consultant In The U.S. Congress as a that you can think of successor, according to four sources conversant in the matter, who requested not to be named so they could talk about it.

Pedro Pierluisi, who represented the island in Washington from 2009 to 2017, has made it clear to Birthday Celebration leaders he would accept the job, in line with this type of folks.

Pierluisi, currently an legal professional with Washington law firm O’Neill & Borges, ran in opposition to Rosselló Within The gubernatorial election in 2016, shedding in a first-rate.

A member of Rosselló’s New Modern Birthday Party (PNP), Pierluisi may transform the commonwealth’s next governor if he is nominated and demonstrated as secretary of state before Rosselló resigns. That put up, at present vacant, is first in line to prevail the governor.

Also vying for the place is Puerto Rico Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz of the PNP, these people mentioned.

EYES ON 2020

Greatest In The minds of Birthday Celebration leaders is whether Rosselló’s successor can help them hold the governorship when it comes up for grabs in November 2020.

Pierluisi, a former Puerto Rico secretary of justice, is appreciated by way of some Puerto Rico advocates in Washington for his familiarity with federal politics, in keeping with some of the sources. Another of the sources mentioned Pierluisi has stressed out to Birthday Party leaders that he would no longer are looking for re-election in 2020, to keep the door open for Schatz, Puerto Rico’s present delegate to the U.S. Congress Jenniffer González, or Every Other candidate.

Schatz is considered via some In The Party as too intently linked to Rosselló to be a attainable successor or 2020 candidate, the people said.

Puerto Ricans want a chief to steer them out of hindrance and financial recession after Rosselló’s time period Was marked by way of back-to-again 2017 hurricanes that killed round Three,000 individuals Just months after the U.S. territory filed for bankruptcy.

Pierluisi had a monitor record of gaining increased federal funding for Puerto Rico’s 3.2 million people while serving in Congress.

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He Also faced accusations in a 2016 new york Times Report of that you can think of conflicts of interest between legislation he presented and monetary consulting work by his wife, allegations they each denied.

Pierluisi has been named by local media as a that you can imagine successor to Rosselló considering that his former secretary of state stepped down Within The wake of the net chat scandal.

Within The chats, published on July 13, Rosselló and Eleven prime aides made offensive statements about feminine political opponents, gay pop singer Ricky Martin and peculiar Puerto Ricans.

Reporting via Nick Brown in San Juan; extra reporting and writing by using Andrew Hay; editing by way of Jonathan Oatis

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