Puerto Rico Supreme Court orders new governor to step down

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The island territory of Puerto Rico has been in a state of flux for several weeks now after disgraced Governor Ricardo Rosselló and much of his equally disgraced administration were ousted amid corruption and scandal.

The island’s government is still in a state of flux, however, as the Puerto Rican Supreme Court just ruled that Acting Governor Pedro Pierluisi, who was picked to fill the vacant governorship, is ineligible to serve in that position.

Court rules swearing-in of replacement governor unconstitutional

The Daily Caller reported that the island territory’s high court ruled in favor of an emergency lawsuit filed against the new governor by two prominent politicians, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz and Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz.

The lawsuit took aim at Pierluisi, who prior to assuming the governorship served as acting secretary of state in the administration of former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

However, the lawsuit pointed out that Pierluisi had only recently been appointed as secretary of state in the wake of the resignation of Rosselló’s previous secretary of state, Luis G. Rivera Marin, who was embroiled in the same scandals that brought down the governor.

The lawsuit noted that Pierluisi had only been confirmed in the new role as secretary by the island’s House of Representatives and was therefore ineligible to be named as governor, an argument with which the court appears to have agreed, as they ordered Pierluisi to step down as acting governor since he’d never been fully confirmed to his prior position.

Who is next in line?

The next person in line for the governorship is another ally of Rosselló and a member of his administration, Justice Secretary Wanda Vazquez Garced.

However, Vasquez, who served in Rosselló’s administration since January 2017 and is suspected by some of being involved in the same corruption and scandals as other officials, had stated publicly that she has no desire to be the governor of Puerto Rico,

She has also been accused of failing to open up investigations into allegations of government mismanagement, to put it nicely, in the wake of the two hurricanes that rocked the island in 2017.

Vazquez sworn in as third governor in six days

Nevertheless, The Associated Press reported that Vazquez — only the second woman to serve as governor in the island’s history — was sworn into office on Wednesday to become the third governor of Puerto Rico in only six days.

“We have all felt the anxiety provoked by the instability and uncertainty,” she said in an official statement after the swearing-in ceremony. “Faced with this enormous challenge and with God ahead, I take a step forward with no interest other than serving the people … It is necessary to give the island stability, certainty to the markets and secure (hurricane) reconstruction funds.”

The AP noted that plenty of Puerto Ricans, weary from the scandals of the Rosselló administration, are not entirely thrilled about Vazquez being named governor, but barring any further scandals or protesters demanding her resignation as well, she will serve out the remainder of Rosselló’s term until elections are held in 2020.

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