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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

PDP lawmaker says he’ll take sanctions in tussle over Electoral Code

Rep. Luis Ramón Ortiz Lugo

By The Star Staff

Rep. Luis Ramón “Narmito” Ortiz Lugo said Wednesday he is prepared to face sanctions imposed on him by Popular Democratic Party (PDP) President Jesús Manuel Ortiz González for voting in favor of amendments to the Electoral Code.

“When the [PDP governing] board was constituted [on Aug. 13] it did not have a quorum to begin with,” Ortiz Lugo said. “We are prepared to appeal and I say more, we will see each other at the polls.”

Ortiz Lugo accused the party president of lying about what was going to be approved on the first day of the regular session.

“Now they put it out there that they didn’t know anything, and that’s a lie,” the lawmaker said. “He wasn’t even in the chamber.”

Ortiz Lugo’s comments were the latest in intra-party scuffling over the Electoral Code, between those who voted for amendments to the code and those, including the party president, who said they were not consulted before the vote.

Ortiz Lugo contended that the decision of the party legislative caucus goes above what the PDP governing board has decided. He added that although Ortiz González is the president of the legislative conference, he had not previously convened it to address the matter.

PDP Secretary General Gerardo Antonio “Toñito” Cruz Maldonado anticipated an announcement later on Wednesday of the sanctions against the speaker of the House and the 13 PDP legislators who, along with the New Progressive Party (NPP) delegation, approved House Bill (HB) 1822, which seeks to amend the Electoral Code of 2020

While PDP legislators argued among themselves, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Wednesday that he has asked the NPP’s electoral team and legislators to be flexible in the process of achieving amendments to the Electoral Code.

“There are things that for us are totally unacceptable, such as, for example, allowing the so-called ‘pivazos’ [so-called “triple-cross” votes]. That is unacceptable,” the governor said in response to questions from the press. “In the same way, this matter of the co-allied candidacies whereby a candidate appears twice on the same ballot, that kind of thing is so totally out of place from our point of view.”

“But there are other issues such as the process for electing at-large senators that can be discussed, and we will see if some kind of consensus is reached,” Pierluisi added. “The House has already voted and modified what the Senate had approved in the last session.”

The governor was reacting to the statements of independent Sen. José Vargas Vidot, who objects to the amendments approved by the House of Representatives regarding at-large candidates. Vargas Vidot said the amendments would not allow him to be elected, because he would only accumulate votes in 30% of the senatorial districts and not in 100%, as is currently the case.

Separately, Dignity Project President César Vázquez Muñiz said HB 1822, which was proposed at the beginning of the sixth regular legislative session, was “a new attack on Puerto Rican democracy,” similar to what happened with the 2020 amendments to the Electoral Code.

“The two main parties in the country … they are minimizing the participation of other parties and jeopardizing the legitimacy of the next elections,” Vázquez Muñiz said late Tuesday.

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