SAN JUAN (Reuters) – Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation Wednesday will draw cheers from protesters, politicians and monetary stakeholders, however his tapped substitute – Justice Secretary Wanda Vazquez Garced – has not elicited the identical pleasure.
Folks in a convention room watch a tv broadcast of Puerto Rico’s governor Ricardo Rossello, as he resigns after days of protests calling for his resignation in San Juan, Puerto Rico July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Marco Bello
A key emptiness within the U.S. territory’s chain of succession makes Vazquez, a 59-year-old former district lawyer, subsequent in line for the island’s highest workplace.
Rosselló stated on Wednesday he would keep it up working till Aug. 2 to permit Vazquez to have an orderly transition into her new function as governor.
When stories of Rosselló’s attainable resignation first circulated outdoors the governor’s mansion on Tuesday night time, crowds erupted in cheers.
They switched to boos when rally leaders reminded them Rosselló’s substitute could be Vazquez. Some protesters stated the rallies wouldn’t cease if Vazquez takes workplace.
“I’ll attempt to carry on preventing, even when I simply find yourself feeling like I’m a loopy particular person screaming on the street,” stated Zoe Alva, 32.
“We have to clear home solely.”
Some protesters and opponents view Vazquez, basically Puerto Rico’s lawyer normal, as too near Rosselló, whose administration has been marred by accusations of corruption.
Federal investigators this month arrested a handful of officers in a contract-steering probe, together with Schooling Secretary Julia Keleher.
Then, hundreds of pages of texts have been leaked wherein the governor made a string of vulgar and typically violent statements about feminine political opponents and homosexual singer Ricky Martin.
A profession public servant, Vazquez has been a lightning rod for controversy. She labored at Puerto Rico’s Division of Housing earlier than spending 20 years as a district lawyer for the island’s Division of Justice.
In 2010, she took over the Puerto Rico Workplace for Girls’s Rights, till Rosselló nominated her for justice secretary in 2016.
Even because the island’s prime ladies’s rights advocate, she confronted pushback from some ladies’s teams who stated she didn’t do sufficient. As justice secretary, she clashed publicly with Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz, a member of the governor’s celebration who had nonetheless referred to as for Vazquez’s resignation.
After revelations of Rosselló’s textual content exchanges with members of his employees, some critics stated Vazquez dragged her ft on subpoenaing telephones of these concerned within the chat.
“We see her as being sluggish to prosecute individuals in her personal administration,” stated Puerto Rico Consultant Luis Vega Ramos, a member of the opposition celebration.
It is usually unclear if Puerto Rico’s collectors, in addition to the federally appointed board that manages its funds, see Vazquez as a greater possibility than Rosselló.
A supply conversant in the board’s pondering stated she wouldn’t be a “confidence-inspiring” substitute.
One creditor supply stated Wall Avenue may choose Rivera Schatz, who, as a consequence of his function as Senate president, could be higher capable of push laws essential to allow the island to restructure its $120 billion in debt.
Timing would make that transfer troublesome. Rosselló must nominate Rivera Schatz as secretary of state — the second in line to develop into governor — and he must be confirmed by the island’s legislature, all earlier than Rosselló leaves workplace.
Reporting by Nick Brown; Enhancing by Scott Malone