• The San Juan Daily Star

Senator: Time is ripe to include mayoral succession bill in extra session

Sen. Javier Aponte Dalmau

By The Star Staff

Following the resignation of several mayors resulting in the need to hold special elections in some municipalities, Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Sen. Javier Aponte Dalmau called on Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia on Monday to amend his call for an extraordinary session to deal with Senate Bill 200, which seeks to amend the procedures for mayoral succession.

The bill was filed in February and approved by the Senate in June.

“Although the main intention of Senate Bill 200 is to eliminate the practice that promotes municipal dynasties, it seems to me it is the most pertinent moment for the House of Representatives to review this measure and include amendments that serve to address situations similar to what is happening in Cataño and Guaynabo,” Aponte Dalmau said. “These amendments could serve to avoid a run-down, undemocratic and completely anachronistic special elections in both cases and all those that, from now on, have to be held.”

The New Progressive Party opted against holding a special election in Guaynabo, paving the way for a new mayor who was the only candidate who expressed interest in the position.

The PDP senator announced that the amendments he would propose to the House of Representatives to be included in the bill, which he authored, would be that the special election process in the event of a vacancy be carried out in a period of 60 days, instead of 30 days as currently established, and that the official who occupies the position of mayor on an interim basis cannot participate in the special election.

“Extending the process of the special election is beneficial for taxpayers who have more time to meet the candidates and make an accurate selection, and also for the State Elections Commission, which can conduct the process without rushing,” Aponte Dalmau said. “Meanwhile, the participation of the person who acts temporarily as mayor or mayoress should be limited since it would be giving him an advantage over any other candidate. Certainly, during the interim office, any management carried out works in favor of the interim mayor and would almost promote his candidacy with the funds of the municipality.”

Aponte Dalmau insisted that it is “the ideal time to amend the Municipal Code and turn the process of mayoral succession, in special circumstances, into an exercise whose primary basis is respect for the right to vote and the true will of the town.”

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