PDP President Insists Party Needs Discipline
SAN JUAN – Popular Democratic Party (PDP) President Héctor Ferrer emphasized Monday that party members must abide by the party’s regulations and have discipline.
Ferrer was reacting to Hormigueros Mayor Pedro García‘s announcement that he would vote for sovereignty while at an event he held with PDP Rep. Manuel Natal, Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Sen. Juan Dalmau, and former independent gubernatorial candidate Alexandra Lúgaro, all of whom have joined forces in favor of the “free association/independence” option in the June 11 political-status plebiscite, in which voters must choose between sovereignty or statehood.
“No party, no organization, and no individual in their personal character will tell the PDP what to do. This is a party, there is a governing board and there is a president here that is following the strategy outlined by the governing board and the party itself,” the PDP leader declared in a Radio Isla 1320 interview.
Ferrer emphasized that whoever isn’t abiding the party’s processes is acting in their personal character and outside party lines.
“In order to participate in any entity, one has to uphold the party’s discipline. I have my position on what we should do, how we should do it and when we should do it, but I am the first person who must abide by the party’s regulations because I am its president,” he said.
Ferrer, who also ran for resident commissioner in the Nov. 8 general elections but lost to Jenniffer González, said he spoke with the Hormigueros mayor Monday morning, but didn’t provide details about their conversation. He also avoided commenting on possible disciplinary actions against those who don’t follow party guidelines.
“It was an educational forum to [explain] what independence is, what sovereignty is, what free association is. Obviously, I’m with the sovereign ELA [Spanish acronym for free-associated state, or commonwealth], outside the territorial clause… I welcomed the hundreds of Puerto Ricans who showed up with lots of enthusiasm,” he stated.
The Hormigueros mayor was clear about his participation in the PDP’s upcoming general assembly.
“I will request a turn and I will speak in favor of our participation [in the status plebiscite], for PDP voters to participate, to not leave that window open for the NPP [New Progressive Party] so it can win a rigged referendum, a trick plebiscite. The strength of all the political parties is needed to win,” he said.
For his part, former PDP senator and political analyst Ángel Rosa stressed that the party’s lack of leadership has been a key factor of the delicate situation it is in.
“Beyond what Pedro [García] may think and what has always been his political status ideals, this is what will continue happening in the PDP as long as there isn’t a clear leadership position. Every day there will be new leaders who will hold onto the cause for sovereignty/independence, or some will vote in favor of statehood to defend the issue that only sovereignists can clarify, which is what is the future of U.S. citizenship when born in Puerto Rico under sovereignty. The most they can say is it is a matter of negotiation,” he said in a WKAQ 580 radio interview.
Rosa, who is also a university professor, maintained that the PDP lacks discipline and that its administration is more concerned with determining who will be its next gubernatorial candidate than the party’s ideological future.