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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Varela calls for PDP electoral commissioner to step down

Rep. José “Conny” Varela Fernández

By John McPhaul

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives José “Conny” Varela Fernández on Monday called for the resignation of the Popular Democratic Party electoral commissioner, Ramón Torres Cruz, “due to his lack of action on the proposals to amend the Electoral Code.”

“Since the beginning of this legislative assembly, the Electoral Affairs Committee that I chair has made great efforts to achieve amendments to the 2020 Electoral Code, responding to the demands of both the Populares and many Puerto Ricans. By May 2021, our Committee had already worked on a bill with substantial amendments to the Code,” Varela said in a written statement. “After Mr. Torres was appointed as electoral commissioner in July 2021, he said his priority would be to approve a new Electoral Code, and that he was working on a bill that he hoped to have [ready] before the end of the year. Since then, there has been a lot of talk about possible changes to be submitted by his office, but to date, nothing has been fulfilled.”

“At the beginning of 2022, Mr. Torres promised that he would submit the proposed amendments to the Code sufficiently in advance so that they could be evaluated in this legislative session,” the veteran lawmaker added. “Several months have passed, the session is about to end, and no proposals have yet been received. I have invited the commissioner several times to discuss these matters, but he always has an excuse to cancel the meetings.”

“The conduct of Mr. Torres prevents the committee that I chair from being able to do its job of achieving the changes to the Electoral Code that are necessary and urgent to achieve a clean and reliable electoral process,” Varela continued. “Therefore, I am convinced that Mr. Torres should resign from his position as Electoral Commissioner, and allow someone with the necessary sense of urgency to achieve these changes to occupy the position.”

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