Electoral Code in doubt
By John McPhaul
The future of a new legislation on the Electoral Code is in doubt due to the conflcts between the versions in the House and Senate.
Rep. Jose “Conny” Varela insisted Thursday that he will file his replacement Bills 4 and 114 with amendments despite the fact that the commissioners of the New Progressive Party (NPP), Vanessa Santo Domingo and the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), Ramón Torres Cruz, established that they would not endorse changes. Both commissioners prefer Senate Bill 909 as it stands.
“I am going to submit what I understand is a project of greater consensus, not total consensus,” Varela Fernández said upon leaving the public hearing.
The legislator intends to include, among other things, that minority parties can have greater participation in the administrative structure of the State Elections Commission. The majority parties, NPP and PDP, do not favor these amendments because, in their opinion, the minority parties seek to achieve an administrative majority in the State Elections Commission (SEC).
According to the representative of the NPP, Gabriel Rodríguez Aguiló, minority parties such as the Citizen Victory Movement, Dignity Project and the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), intend to make a meeting of candidates for different positions while maintaining their political organization. In this way, according to the representative, it would be three parties against two in the SEC, which would obviously give them the majority in decision-making.
“That is political advantage,” Rodríguez Aguiló said. “There is no problem in Citizen Victory and the PIP uniting in a single party, but in the State Elections Commission they will also have a single representative of that party,” he said.
“Conny (Varela) knows that his project does not have the votes even within his party. As he knows that he does not have the votes, he is looking for Citizen Victory to support his bill, for some representatives of the NPP to be able to approve his bill, for the PIP to support his bill to get the 26 votes, even if in the Senate he is defeated because he knows that he is going to be defeated. What he wants is to look good publicly that he was able to approve his measure. If Conny Varela insists on including his project in the measure of consensus, it will damage the consensus and of course there will be a roadblock,” he concluded.