Lawmakers to meet to discuss new Electoral Code

By John McPhaul

Rep. José “Conny” Varela, the deputy speaker of the island House of Representatives, called on the minority party leaders in the lower chamber to participate in a working meeting to continue evaluating substitute legislation for House Bills 4 and 11 to reform the Electoral Code.

Varela, who chairs the Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Electoral Issues, said the meeting will be held today at 2 p.m.

“In the spirit that we have always had to achieve changes to our Electoral Law, and that [those changes are made with] the consensus of all participants, I hope to meet with the colleagues Denis Márquez from the PIP [Puerto Rican Independence Party], José Bernardo Márquez from the MVC [Citizens Victory Movement], Lisie J. Burgos of the PD [Dignity Project] and José Enrique Meléndez of the PNP [New Progressive Party] to address together the details of this legislation,” Varela said.

The Popular Democratic Party representative specified that in the meeting the lawmakers will discuss the suggestions, ideas and specific proposals that, “we have an opportunity to express.”

On May 21, a final consideration hearing, or markup session, was held on the substitute legislation for the aforementioned bills, from which a draft of amendments emerged which was then circulated to the committee members on May 25.

“In this communication, I presented to the colleagues a proposal to guarantee the equitable participation of all political parties in the structures of the State of Elections Commission, and I asked them to express their position on the matter,” Varela said. “In treating large-scale legislation that seeks to restore the credibility of the electoral system process and restore people’s faith in their democratic institution, it is necessary that we all sit down to seek consensus to present a final result that meets with the expectations of our people.”

The legislator said he was confident that “we will achieve some points of agreement and that the teamwork of this committee will result in the approval of a piece of legislation that will be of benefit to the country.”

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