Morovis mayor launches gubernatorial candidacy amid PDP turmoil
By Alejandra M. Jover Tovar
Special to The Star
Outside the empty and padlocked Popular Democratic Party (PDP) headquarters in Puerta de Tierra, a group of “pava” party members gathered on the sidewalk and, to the sound of a strident sound truck playing the party’s anthem, watched Morovis Mayor Carmen Maldonado González launch her candidacy for governor in 2024.
That the party’s headquarters was closed was no coincidence. Maldonado and her team requested permission on Friday to rent the premises. They were denied, at a time when there is turmoil in the PDP, and after its governing board decided in a meeting Friday that the current president, José Luis Dalmau Santiago, would remain in office until December 2023 (when the candidacies for governor close by law). However, it had been said there would be a new president in February. Maldonado left the meeting upset by the announcement but declined to say whether that precipitated the declaration of her candidacy on Sunday.
“They have their own separate script; I must say it is a hijacking, and it is undemocratic,” she said. “We have not experienced this in many years in which a group is working on a mechanism to present the regulations. Still, the end they seek is to favor or support the candidacy of a person who has not wanted to roll up his sleeves, who is left out so as not to receive a scratch. … The Popular Party cannot wait to have a candidate until 2024.”
“Today, I am here to bring an important message to the citizens and the Popular people who continue with the faith and hope that this party will not continue to be led by three or four people,” Maldonado said during Sunday’s press conference. “This party belongs to the Popular people. Today, with great honor and commitment, I am pleased to announce that I will be running for governor of Puerto Rico.”
“The Popular people are waiting for an encouraging message; we have a living hope that our Popular Party will continue to move forward,” the PDP vice president continued. “That is why we have come together to bring a message to our citizens: this party is of the people and belongs to the people.”
After announcing her candidacy amid applause, Maldonado said “I am making myself available because there is very little time left for the PDP to do the mounting work; the PDP must return to its true direction.”
As a candidate, “the time has come to strengthen the political position with a viable instrument for all Puerto Ricans,” she added. “My candidacy is not to promise things, but rather to provide alternatives. I aspire to govern without politics and favoritism intervening in public administration. Our young people represent the future. My government will be one of youth with citizen participation. We cannot turn our backs on the youth or continue to reject those who want to renew our institution.”