SAN JUAN (Reuters) – Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló ready to make an announcement to the individuals on Wednesday because the legislature started an impeachment course of towards him amid mass protests and uncertainty concerning the governor’s political future.
Rosselló, a first-term governor for the U.S. territory, has resisted calls to step down over a scandal native media have dubbed “Rickyleaks.” Media, together with El Nuevo Día newspaper, earlier cited unnamed sources as saying his resignation was imminent, however rumors additionally swirled that he wouldn’t resign.
“The impeachment course of has began,” mentioned Johnny Mendez, speaker of Puerto Rico’s Home of Representatives and a member of Rossello’s social gathering.
Mendez scheduled a particular session of the legislature at 2 p.m. on Thursday to arrange a fee to question Rossello, El Nuevo Dia reported, after the governor failed to look at a 5 p.m. press convention or give any handle to the nation by eight:30 p.m.
Practically two weeks of protests had been spurred by the publication on July 13 of chat messages through which Rosselló and aides used profane language to explain feminine politicians and homosexual Puerto Rican celebrities, together with singer Ricky Martin.
The 40-year-old governor, who’s serving in his first elected workplace, is weighing his political future and deliberate to make an announcement on Wednesday, Rosselló spokesman Anthony Maceira mentioned.
“Right now, Governor Ricardo Rossello will handle the individuals of Puerto Rico straight in a message that he’s getting ready at this second,” Maceira informed reporters. “I don’t know at what time.”
An impartial panel of attorneys commissioned by Mendez to analyze the offensive messages discovered 4 felonies and one misdemeanor might have been dedicated through the Telegram message group chats, one of many attorneys, Luis Rodríguez-Rivera, mentioned in an e-mail.
Hundreds of protesters exterior the powder-blue and white governor’s mansion grew ever extra impatient for information from Rosselló.
Rows of riot police marched previous the residence, named “The Fortress,” in preparation for what some thought might grow to be an evening of confrontation if Rosselló didn’t step down.
Protesters had been cautiously optimistic he would resign, however mentioned the combat wasn’t over.
“I’m nonetheless preventing it doesn’t matter what as a result of whoever replaces him is simply as dangerous as him,” mentioned Jennifer Peña, 42.
The island of three.2 million individuals has been rocked by a number of crises lately, together with a chapter submitting and a devastating hurricane in 2017 that killed about three,000 individuals.
If Rosselló steps down, Puerto Rico’s structure says the island’s secretary of state would grow to be governor. However Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marin left the submit as a result of chat scandal. Subsequent in line is Justice Secretary Wanda Vazquez, whom many protesters reject due to her ties to the governor.
Puerto Rican economist Gustavo Velez tweeted that Rosselló had but to make an announcement as a result of he was attempting to line up a brand new secretary of state to exchange him.
“They nonetheless don’t have a Secretary of State acceptable to political pursuits with 2020 forward,” Velez mentioned, referring to the gubernatorial election on the island subsequent 12 months.
A string of Rosselló’s closest aides have stepped down as prosecutors investigated the scandal. The governor’s chief of employees Ricardo Llerandi resigned on Tuesday, citing considerations for the security of his household.
Reporting by Nick Brown in San Juan; Extra reporting by Marco Bello and Luis Valentin Ortiz in San Juan, Karen Pierog in Chicago and Wealthy McKay in Atlanta; Writing by Scott Malone and Andrew Hay; Modifying by Leslie Adler, Matthew Lewis and Cynthia Osterman