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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

PIP, MVC won’t appeal ruling banning political coalitions to top court

Puerto Rican Independence Party Sen. Juan Dalmau

By The Star Staff

The Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) and the Citizen Victory Movement (MVC by its Spanish initials) announced Monday they will not appeal to the commonwealth Supreme Court a ruling making it illegal for different political parties to form coalitions.

The PIP and MVC are interested in reaching agreements on candidacies that have the support of both communities. To those ends, they legislatively and judicially challenged provisions of the Electoral Code approved before the 2020 election that prohibit coalitions of common candidates.

“Efforts to get the Legislative Assembly to repeal the ban on common candidates were unsuccessful,” the political parties said. “Neither the NPP legislative minority, originally responsible for the ban, nor the current PDP legislative majority in the House and Senate, which had promised to repeal the 2020 code, gave way to the proposal to repeal the ban.”

The two parties then jointly appealed to the judiciary so that, in exercising its responsibility as guardian of the Constitution, it would invalidate the ban as contrary to the fundamental constitutional rights of the two parties and their candidates, their members, and the general electorate.

“These are fundamental rights such as freedom of political association, the constitutional rights of all political parties, the right to vote, freedom of expression, and the prohibition of political discrimination that violates equal protection under the law,” they said.

The Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeals both refused to invalidate the ban on a coalition of candidates.

“The latter accepted our arguments regarding the justiciability of the lawsuit and recognized that both the plaintiff parties and the candidates Juan Dalmau and Manuel Natal pursue legitimate and valid objectives,” the parties said. “But since, in an uncertain future, other people could have illicit purposes, the Court of Appeals validated the prohibition imposed by the two political parties that have taken turns in the exercise of government power for decades, to the detriment of the rights claimed by the parties that threaten their control of legislation, the government and the electoral apparatus.”

The lawyers who represented the PIP are Carlos Iván Gorrín Peralta, Arturo Hernández González and Juan Mercado Nieves. Representing the MVC were José J. Lamas Rivera, Jorge Farinacci Fernós, María de Lourdes Guzmán, Alejandro Torres Rivera and Yanira Reyes Gil.

“After a careful analysis of the ruling handed down by the Court of Appeals on August 30, 2023, the legal team reports that the leaders of both parties have accepted its recommendation not to appeal to the Supreme Court to review the decision,” the parties said. “Even if an unlikely favorable decision were achieved from [the high] court in favor of the PIP and the MVC, there would be no time left to make it a reality. The electoral calendar has already begun to run. All political parties and their members have begun internal processes so that in less than two months the candidacies for all positions that will be subject to election next year will be formalized.”

The PIP and MVC will now have to concentrate their efforts on the identification of candidates, on agreements on those candidacies that will have the support of both communities within the rigid demands imposed by current legislation, and on the political strategies so that the electorate can realize what the three branches of the government of Puerto Rico have refused to make viable, the parties said.

“Neither the ruling of the Court of Appeals nor the prohibition of allied candidates will prevent the progress of the talks to forge an alliance that offers the country an electoral option to transcend the NPP-PDP rotation,” they said.

Attorneys Juan Dalmau Ramírez and Manuel Natal Albelo will soon make an announcement on the results of the efforts to provide the electorate with viable options that change the island’s current course, the parties added.

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