Prats Names Replacement after Resigning from Democratic Party’s Presidency
SAN JUAN – Former Sen. Roberto Prats resigned from the Puerto Rico Democratic Party’s presidency last week and immediately named Ponce Mayor María “Mayita” Meléndez as the organization’s interim president.
Prats told Caribbean Business that he decided to step down from the party’s presidency after holding the title for 14 years, and six years as executive director.
“I have dedicated the past 20 years of my life to the party, and I believe that’s enough,” Prats said as he indicated he decided to pass on the role after Barack Obama’s farewell as president of the United States. He said that after the Democratic Party’s defeat and the U.S. Congress’ situation, in which the Republican Party is the majority, “it is time to leave this to other hands.”
Prats, who also worked in the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) executive commission for two consecutive terms, explained that in addition to President Donald Trump’s victory, Puerto Rico’s political scenario changed with its new governor, Ricardo Rosselló.
For her part, Meléndez was selected Friday as the local Democratic Party’s vice president and was recently designated to represent the Mayors Federation before the Fiscal Oversight & Management Board. After Prats’s resignation, the Ponce mayor was named interim president until the State Committee meets and selects its officials.
Party affiliates said it is possible that its Executive Committee may be convened before Feb. 21 to designate the new officials, because the DNC will meet Feb. 21 and 22 to elect its new president, secretary, and other officials at the national level.
In that meeting, four officials will represent Puerto Rico: Committeeman Kenneth McClintock and Meléndez, but they still have to elect the other two votes, the committeewoman and the next president of the party locally.
If Meléndez is designated to preside the Puerto Rico Democratic Party, they would still have to name another vice president, in addition to the committeewoman.
Before Prats’s resignation, then-vice president Gina Meléndez had to resign her post after being designated judge of the Court of Appeals.