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NPP urges party members to go out and vote Sunday to fill vacant House seat


Says participation is necessary to keep ‘defending the party’s postulates, the people and statehood’


By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: pete_r_correa

Special to The Star


New Progressive Party (NPP) Secretary General Carmelo Ríos, along with Rep. José “Pichy” Torres Zamora, the NPP’s state political director, said Thursday that the pro-statehood party is ready to conduct a special election on Sunday to choose the next candidate to fill the representative-at-large seat that became vacant after former Rep. Néstor Alonso Vega was arrested last Nov. 5 on federal corruption charges.


During a press conference at NPP Committee headquarters in Hato Rey, Ríos said the political party has some 110 polling centers around Puerto Rico to facilitate “novoprogresistas” voting for one of eight candidates from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.


“It’s worth noting that the eight great progressives [who agreed to participate in the special election] are Ángelo Cruz, Jackeline ‘Jackie’ Rodríguez, Edwin Omar González, Mario Tevenal, Alan McAbee, Isabelo ‘Chabelo’ Molina, José ‘Che’ Pérez and Jorge Emanuel Báez,” Ríos said. “In accordance with the public policies of NPP President Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, this has been a transparent process [conducted] along with the NPP secretariat’s electoral staff.”


Ríos said the NPP has established forums and special content on the party’s social networks so voters can better know the candidates’ legislative platforms.


“The process has already begun with early voting, on Friday [today] those confined to prison will vote and on Saturday, we begin at-home voting,” Ríos said.


The NPP secretary general said each center will include from one to five voting stations, and permanent registration boards from the State Elections Commission will be open on Sunday to address any electoral issues that may arise.


Torres Zamora urged NPP members to go out and vote on Sunday to fill the vacant representative-at-large seat “to continue defending the postulates of the party, the people of Puerto Rico and statehood.”


“The NPP is a party that is alive and remains working as we are ratifying our work in municipal committees,” Torres Zamora said. “Go out and vote, make the difference, make sure that our party and statehood win and that we are the governing party.”


House speaker’s move on Seilhamer confirmation called a ‘blackmail attempt’


After House Speaker Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez said Wednesday that his vote to confirm Larry Seilhamer as island secretary of state depends on his availability to discuss the electoral reform, Ríos, who is the vice president of the NPP delegation in the island Senate, said Hernández Montañez’s determination is a “blackmail attempt, or worse, is an action that proves a lack of intellectual honesty.”


Torres Zamora called on Popular Democratic Party (PDP) President José Luis Dalmau to summon Hernández Montañez for caucus and “set the tone.”


“Knowing that he [Hernández Montañez] was going to have a meeting today [Thursday] at 10 a.m. with the government staff and [NPP Deputy Electoral Commissioner] Edwin Mundo, he lied to the PDP affiliates and the people of Puerto Rico,” Torres Zamora said. “We’re not up for blackmailing.”


The NPP official added that the House speaker’s statements are “unfortunate.”


“Taking as hostage the most important and relevant appointment after the summer of 2019 [protests] should not be done to make changes in laws,” Torres Zamora said.


He added that both the upper and lower chambers must continue to seek consensus and hold debates in order to accomplish legislation for the island.

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