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Bernier proposes limiting governor’s tenure to 6 years

By on October 13, 2016

SAN JUAN – Just 27 days before the general election, the gubernatorial candidate for the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), David Bernier, presented his plan for political transformation, which includes a constitutional referendum to limit to six years the elective period of the governor, resume unicameralism, establish a mechanism for a recall referendum and amend the electoral law to reduce campaign periods, among others.

Accompanied by the party’s candidate for resident commissioner, Héctor Ferrer, Bernier noted that the changes proposed are the right path for a “clean and integral government” and said he has no doubt the people will support him with their vote in the upcoming elections.

“Everyone knows I’m incorruptible and that I act in absolute adherence to laws and regulations…. We will hold a referendum to amend the Constitution to limit the post of governor to a six-year term, and in the case of legislators to three terms of four years maximum. We will establish a recall referendum mechanism that disrupts the mandate of any elected official when a significant percent of the country sees it that way through a vote to that end and we will again address the citizen call for a unicameral legislature,” Bernier said.

The PDP gubernatorial candidate proposed that the salary of senators and representatives be eliminated and return to paying a reasonable stipend.

Bernier also proposed eliminating the second legislative session.

The PDP's resident commissioner candidate, Héctor Ferrer, and gubernatorial candidate David Bernier (CB photo/Limarys Suárez)

The PDP’s resident commissioner candidate, Héctor Ferrer, and gubernatorial candidate David Bernier (CB photo/Limarys Suárez)

“Regarding the establishment of an honest and clean government, we will be introducing legislation to amend electoral law to allow…political alliances and multi-party endorsements of candidates, establish a runoff mechanism between the two candidates with the most votes if the winner of a first round doesn’t get 50% plus one of the votes, and we will restructure the State Election Commission’s operations to be a less bureaucratic body, in accordance with the electoral and economic realities of the country,” he added.

Bernier explained that with his amendments to electoral law, he will seek to establish a mechanism for candidates to choose between being either publicly or privately funded, with multiple restrictions including eliminating anonymous donations and a shorter campaign period of three months or less.

“As far as I’m concerned, I would choose public funding, which is the only way to root out political financing. In these 15 recommendations, we seek that the hiring process be transparent, the role of lobbyist be limited to a minimum, and an open, public hiring mechanism be established through OCALARH [Spanish initials for the Labor Affairs Training and Advisory, and Human Resources Administration Office] is established,” he said.

Bernier reiterated he is incorruptible and that nothing moves him more than the well-being of the people.

“We have to move toward this political transformation with these 15 specific measures to ensure an honest and clean government and our proposal for political reform to strengthen the democratic processes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ferrer said the political reform plan proposes real change to the executive and legislative branches.

“It is a momentous and true reform, where the government of Puerto Rico should move in light of citizens’ claims and global trends to keep the power of the people within the people. The specific proposals to limit the term of the governor to six years aim to give elected governors room so they can submit their government plans and can implement their plan of government, and that this plan succeed in improving the quality of life of Puerto Ricans,” he said.

The candidate for resident commissioner for the PDP explained that the current four-year term is resulting in a lot of administrative work left unfinished.

“This proposal by the PDP president would allow the governor to present his plan and dedicate himself to governing without being worried of an impending election and that [his or her] decisions be focused on matters of government and non-political issues. The recall referendum is an innovative proposal and puts the governor in a position to do right and correct things, and allows the country to express itself when things are not done right. This demonstrates the quality person Bernier is, clean and honest,” he said.

Ferrer said the political reform plan will be presented by the party in the first 100 days of his administration and the island will be given the opportunity to hear and decide on the suggested changes.

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