NPP’s Pierluisi takes early lead in voting for governor

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @PCorreaHenry

Special to The Star

New Progressive Party (NPP) Pedro Pierluisi held an early lead in the gubernatorial race in Tuesday’s general elections, with Popular Democratic Democratic (PDP) Party candidate Carlos Delgado Altieri in second place. The gap was closing at press time.

Pierluisi’s campaign director, Caridad Pierluisi, said she feels satisfied with the preliminary results, and added that “as votes get counted completely, I am sure that Pierluisi will still have the lead.”

“The results that we were releasing are validated by the State Elections Commission,” she said. “The website might be having some technical issues, but that doesn’t mean that the process has stopped; therefore, what’s important is that we’re providing information and, as long as we get more information, we will broadcast it.”

Meanwhile, Pierluisi requested that the PDP electoral officers finish scrutinizing the early votes, absentee votes and inmate votes, which, regarding the latter, she said that “we have 75 percent of those votes ensured.”

When a press member asked if such numbers would have any legitimacy given that the SEC’s polling website had crashed, Pierluisi’s campaign director Caridad Pierluisi said “what matters is that the numbers that have been released were provided by the SEC.”

Meanwhile, as for the initial numbers influencing voters who were still waiting in line at the polling centers, Pierluisi’s sister said “people already know who they will vote for.”

“In addition, at 5 p.m, voting centers have closed,” she said. “I think the commission knows what they are doing. I think we should wait for them to do the process and give us information.”

Earlier in the day, the NPP gubernatorial candidate arrived at Rafael María de Labra School in Santurce to vote and said “there’s a vibrant democracy” as citizens lined up at polling centers islandwide to “choose the leaders of their government, and express the future for the country.”

“My capability has been proven. I did my work as secretary of Justice, I also did it as resident commissioner. I am ready,” Pierluisi said. “I was ready four years ago, and I didn’t prevail in a primary election, but that was a primary event. Now it’s all of the country, and I know that there are many, more than my party, who will support me.”

As for getting prepared mentally to lead with a legislative minority, he said that “what’s ideal is to work as a team, and that one party prevails,” he said. “My team from the NPP is a better team than the one from the PDP.”

As for the statehood “Yes or No” plebiscite, he said the ballot counting might take longer as the space to answer the referendum was too small, leading to complications, including the reading of ballots by the counting machines.

“That won’t happen,” Pierluisi responded when a reporter asked what he would do if the U.S. Congress rejects the plebiscite. “When we get the mandate for statehood and equality, there won’t be any going back. I can’t tell you when we will accomplish it, but we will.”

At press time, with 1,684 of 5,567 polling centers reporting, Pierluisi had 106,338 entered votes (38.09 percent), while Delgado Altieri held second place with 99,251 entered votes (35.55 percent). Early voting results were yet to be released.

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