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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

PDP cuts number of candidates to be nominated for Legislature

Popular Democratic Party President Jesús Manuel Ortiz González

By The Star Staff

Popular Democratic Party (PDP) President Jesús Manuel Ortiz González has announced that the political party, which currently controls both chambers of the island Legislature, will nominate candidates for four at-large House seats and four at-large Senate seats to ensure the party retains its legislative majority in the next election.

The move, which he announced along with PDP Secretary General Gerardo Cruz Maldonado, is to ensure that all of the PDP’s candidates get elected. The PDP has two at-large House seats and two at-large Senate seats. Ortiz González said the PDP made the decision after a thorough evaluation with the party’s governing board. In the past, the party has submitted candidates for six at-large House seats and six at-large Senate seats.

“After an analysis of the electoral results over the past 24 years, we have decided to nominate [candidates for] four at large House seats and four at large Senate seats to strengthen our ballot,” the PDP president said.

The move comes because of the plurality of political parties and what appears to be an expected reduction in the number of straight party votes.

Cruz Maldonado said the reality of the new voting trends is that there is no such thing as a straight party vote.

Also on Thursday, the commonwealth Supreme Court announced it would not evaluate a suit that seeks to force Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia to nominate a chairperson for the State Elections Commission (SEC).

Ortiz González, meanwhile, urged Pierluisi to comply with the law and the Electoral Code that he himself defends. This is due to the governor’s statements that the PDP is hindering the appointment of an SEC chair.

“The public record once again contradicts the governor,” said Ortiz González, who earlier this week announced his intention to run for governor. “The PDP is not hindering the appointments made by Governor Pierluisi to select a chairperson of the State Election Commission. We just want to make sure that the Electoral Code that the NPP wrote is complied with.”

Ortiz González noted that last August, Pierluisi sent to the Legislature the names of two judges who had been previously ruled out by the electoral commissioners.

“The governor is being poorly advised by his electoral team,” Ortiz González said. “On that occasion, a judge who had been rejected by the members of the SEC was referred to the Legislative Assembly for approval, resulting in a setback for his nominee. And now, to maintain his erratic behavior in this matter, knowing that the term for consideration of nominees in the SEC has already expired, he chooses to return to the commission to ask all the political parties represented there to become accomplices of that violation.”

The at-large representative also pointed out that, among last Tuesday’s nominees, there is a lawyer who, despite having been confirmed as a judge, has not yet been sworn in as such, and in another case, there is a former NPP electoral commissioner who does not meet the requirement of having been disconnected from the SEC for four years since his resignation.

“The only person responsible for the instability in the SEC less than a year after the general elections is held is Gov. Pedro Pierluisi,” Ortiz González said. “He has the ministerial obligation to take this matter seriously and send a judge to be chair of the SEC and an alternate to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Code. If the Governor wants to honor the law and in turn his commitment during the summer, he only has to follow what the Constitution provides: Seek the advice and consent of the legislative bodies and stop thinking about his primary.”

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