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Tensions flare over Puerto Rico Democratic Party leadership

By on February 23, 2017

SAN JUAN – The fight for the Puerto Rico Democratic Party’s (PDP) control continues after a pro-commonwealth faction of the party decided to annul the election of former Senate President Charlie Rodríguez, as well as that of the vice president, Ponce Mayor María “Mayita” Meléndez.

After the votes cast by 22 of the of 42 members of the Central Committee were cast against the new leadership, Rodríguez rejected the PDP group’s action while he defended the legality of his election and that of other officials elected in his private practice’s office on Feb. 7.

According to the former Senate leader, his election came into effect the same way as other PDP candidates had been elected in the past years. “We beat them while using the same rules that they used for 30 years to impede statehood advocates from having effective participation and control of the Puerto Rico Democratic Party. Now it hurts them to get a taste their own medicine,” he argued.

See also: Statehood supporters lead Puerto Rico Democratic Party

Once the meeting’s election was declared null, the PDP group members selected Sen. José Nadal Power as interim president of the party until they convene again in the following weeks.

Rodríguez affirmed in written declarations that PDP democrats “don’t have the faculty to self-convene” and that the person that could have convened them “according to the rules, was María ‘Mayita’ Meléndez as acting chair since Roberto Prats‘ resignation as president,”he indicated as he assured that the next mandatory reorganization meeting won’t take place until 2020.

“Puerto Rico took a stand. It is time to decide for statehood or independence. And we know that in June 11, thousands upon thousands of Puerto Ricans will take a stand against the colony and begin the final process to annex Puerto Rico as the 51st state,” Rodríguez stated.

See also: NPP Determined to Hold Status Plebiscite

For his part, Nadal Power said that the Puerto Rico Democratic Party ruling establishes that, in order to select the directive, all party members must be convened via letter, five weeks in advance, which didn’t occur in this occasion.

“I think this makes Puerto Rico look bad: the actions of [New Progressive Party] members who proclaimed themselves directors of the Democratic Party. In these historical times that Puerto Rico is going through, what it needs is the opposite: capacity for dialogue and to work together, and what I urge these people is to work together to achieve agreements for Puerto Rico and do things right,” Nadal Power said.

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