Crisis over Puerto Rico's next governor deepens

ASSOCIATED PRESS
SAN JUAN
Published 30.07.2019 00:15

The woman who is supposed to replace Puerto Rico's embattled governor announced Sunday that she doesn't want the job as the U.S. territory reels from political crisis. Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez said in a Twitter post that she hopes Gov. Ricardo Rosselló will appoint a secretary of state before resigning Aug. 2 as planned.

Former Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marín would have been next in line as governor, according to the U.S. territory's constitution. But he is one of more than a dozen officials who have resigned in recent weeks since someone leaked an obscenity-laced chat in which Rosselló and close advisers insulted people including women and victims of Hurricane Maria. Last week, Rosselló announced that he would step down following nearly two weeks of massive protests amid anger over the chat, corruption charges against several former government officials and a 13-year recession.

If Rosselló's choice for a secretary of state is not approved by the island's House and Senate, Puerto Rico's law dictates the treasury secretary would be next in line if the justice secretary doesn't become governor. But current Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés is too young at 31 years old. The constitution dictates the person would have to be at least 35, so that would leave interim Education Secretary Eligio Hernández next in line. He replaced former education secretary Julia Keleher, who resigned in April and was arrested July 10 on federal corruption charges. She has pleaded not guilty.

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