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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

PDP will not participate in process to appoint SEC president


Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By The Star Staff


Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Electoral Commissioner Karla Angleró González announced on Wednesday that she will not participate in the process to appoint a chairperson of the State Elections Commission, alleging that it is in violation of the law.


“It is time for Gov. Pierluisi Urrutia to appoint a chairperson of the State Elections Commission, as provided for in Article 3.07 of Law 58-2020 as soon as possible,” Angleró González said in a written statement.


The official said that in her interpretation of the article, “the electoral commissioners do not have jurisdiction over the appointment of the chairperson of the SEC after the expiration of the term of thirty (30) days from the resignation of the previous chairperson.”


“The NPP [New Progressive Party] cannot circumvent the law by pretending that it has another chance to return the chair’s appointment to the State Election Commission for consideration by the Electoral Commissioners,” Angleró González said. “That stage has passed; now it is up to the Legislative Power, as established by the Electoral Code, to endorse and confirm the one who will be the chair of the Commission.”


“What the governor and the NPP intend is to continue dragging their feet on this issue and say that they are fulfilling their duty to send names, but the commissioners are not endorsing them,” she added. “This is not only an irresponsible act on the part of the NPP, but it is a violation of the law and a premeditated act of continuing to delay the processes and work that are required to prepare the Commission for an electoral event.


Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said in response later on Wednesday that the PDP leadership is responsible for the fact that an SEC chairperson cannot be appointed.


“They continue to hinder my attempts to have someone appointed to the State Election Commission,” the governor said in response to questions from the press. “That is, someone presiding over the State Elections Commission on a permanent or constant basis. The law does establish the mechanism that the electoral commissioners, if all agree, can appoint the chairperson of the State Elections Commission. The law provides for that. What happens then is that they don’t want to go through that process. Again, I don’t understand them. Because in this process, the electoral commissioner of the Popular Democratic Party can represent the party. Just like the other election commissioners. We want consensus. That’s a consensus mechanism. They have rejected it. I’m not surprised, because what they’re doing is constantly getting in the way. This matter is in the hands of the court and the court will express itself.”


A lawsuit is pending in the Court of First Instance regarding the filling of the top post at the SEC.


On Tuesday, NPP Electoral Commissioner Vanessa Santo Domingo Cruz announced that she had submitted to the electoral commissioners at the SEC a list of three candidates to fill the chairperson vacancy.


Three parties attended the meeting: the PDP, the Puerto Rican Independence Party and the Citizen Victory Movement.


Santo Domingo Cruz said several commissioners reported that they have to consult with their parties before presenting their position on the evaluation of the candidates.


“In compliance with Article 3.7 of the electoral code and as requested by the president of the NPP, Pedro Pierluisi, we presented a shortlist of judges to fill the [SEC chairperson] vacancy … and they were asked that the matter be addressed as soon as possible,” Santo Domingo said in a written statement.


The NPP commissioner noted that the governor has already made appointments to the House of Representatives and the Senate that have been rejected outright without holding a public hearing.


“We hope that there will be openness and the seriousness that is required to address this issue,” she added.

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