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Bhatia denies being next candidate for PDP’s presidency

By on January 12, 2017

SAN JUAN – Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Sen. Eduardo Bhatia rejected Thursday being a candidate for the party’s presidency.

“To address the rumors that emerged this morning, I am not a candidate to preside over the Popular Democratic Party right now,” Bhatia said during a news conference.

PDP's Eduardo Bhatia / File

PDP’s Eduardo Bhatia / File

PDP President David Bernier announced the beginning of the process to select the party’s new president. The term will extend until July 2018.

“All of those interested in applying for any of the available positions will have from January 23 to February 3, 2017, until 4 p.m. to present the required documentation to the Popular Democratic Party secretary’s office. Once the candidacies are submitted, the Qualification Commission will evaluate the candidates and duly certify them,” Bernier said in a written statement.

Bernier added that “the positions that will be elected in that event will be the president; second vice president; one member at-large, and representatives for the districts of Ponce, Carolina and Guayama. The Special Meeting of the General Council will be held Feb. 26, 2017, at the Ernesto Ramos Antonini Theater in Barceloneta starting at 9 a.m.”

Right now, the presidency is held by Bernier, who will conclude his duties the same day the General Council meeting is held and transfer the title to the person elected.

“The General Council is made up of 561 members, including members of the [party] Governing Board, state legislators, mayors, presidents, vice presidents and municipal legislatures spokesmen; chairmen and vice chairmen of municipal committees and chairmen of precinct committees; the directors of the National Popular Youth Organization, the Popular Women’s Organization, the Popular Public Servants, and the eight regional presidents; past governors and resident past commissioners; past mayors, past senators, past representatives; former presidents of the party; past general secretaries,” PDP Secretary-General Javier Echevarría explained.

“Once the president has been selected, the process of consultation with the base and evaluation of potential amendments to the rules will be carried out in accordance with Subchapter III of the Rules of Procedure of the Party. In the months up until June, we will be in wide consultations with the base of the party, and all Puerto Ricans, to know their thoughts about the electoral aspects and the multiple concerns of our citizens and simultaneously, a process of evaluation of possible amendments to the party’s rules will be carried out.”

In April, a special meeting on party rules will be held to evaluate potential amendments and, once approved, the party will select the members of the corresponding governing bodies of the PDP. From May 2017 to June 2018, it will be the PDP leaders’ responsibility to reorganize all structures. In July 2018, a general assembly (sovereign body of the PDP) will be held to select the party’s leadership.

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