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Supreme Court rules against minority Senate seats for PDP

By on January 4, 2017

SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) isn’t entitled to the three legislative seats it demanded as part of the Minorities Act when the State Elections Commission (CEE by its Spanish initials) granted the party only three additional seats to the 27 senatorial seats.

“In essence, the appeals before us raise the central controversy over whether the independent candidate, Dr. [José] Vargas Vidot, and the candidate of a party who could not maintain its electoral franchise in the general elections, [Juan] Dalmau Ramírez, should be considered in calculating the limit of nine minority party senators in light of Section 7 of Article III of our Constitution…. After carefully examining the allegations of the parties, it is appropriate to confirm the decision issued by the State Elections Commission, “the ruling states.

The claimants were the former presidents of the Senatorial District of Guayama, Juan Pablo Hernández and Ángel Rodríguez Otero, and the former candidate for the senatorial district of Ponce, Ramón Ruiz Nieves, all of whom obtained the greatest number of votes among the district senators that weren’t elected.

Sen. Ángel Rodríguez and Juan Pablo Hernández were the two PDP candidates for the district of Guayama. Both claim they should have Senate seats under the Minorities Act, if Vargas Didot and Dalmau weren't counted. (Twitter screenshot)

Sen. Ángel Rodríguez and Juan Pablo Hernández were the two PDP candidates for the district of Guayama. Both claim they should have Senate seats under the Minorities Act, if Vargas Didot and Dalmau weren’t counted. (Twitter screenshot)

The New Progressive Party (NPP) obtained 21 of the Senate’s 27 seats, which represents more than two-thirds of the legislative body and immediately activates what is known as the Minorities Act. As nine minority senators are required, the statute was activated and legislators José Nadal Power, Miguel Pereira and Cirilo Tirado were certified.

The controversy began when the PDP claimed it required three additional seats in the Senate under the Minorities Act because Vargas Vidot and Dalmau Ramírez cannot be considered a minority.

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