Justice Minister Wanda Vázquez announced on Sunday that she did not want to succeed Ricardo Rosselló as governor of Puerto Rico when he resigns on Friday. Normally, the island’s secretary of state would be the first in line to become governor, but Luis Rivera Marin resigned from that very post earlier this month because of his own role in the chat scandal that took down Rosselló. Vázquez said over the weekend that she hoped that Rosselló will nominate a new secretary of state before he departs, and that this new person will be governor instead of her: The legislature would need to confirm any new secretary of state.
Vázquez had made a number of enemies during her time in politics, and the protestors who pressured Rosselló to quit didn’t sound at all willing to accept her as his successor. However, it’s now anyone’s guess who will be governor once Rosselló’s resignation takes effect on Friday evening.
There’s even a chance that the Vázquez will take the post after all. Her office clarified on Monday that the justice minister was simply saying that she didn’t want to become an elected official, and her spokesperson added, “She is a believer and follower of the law and the Constitution,” and, “It is what the Constitution says, and she will do what the Constitution says.” It’s possible that Vázquez could serve as governor long enoughto nominate a secretary of state and see them be confirmed by the legislature, then resign and let this person become governor. However, her team didn’t address this idea of Monday.
If Vázquez decided to refuse the governorship, the next person in the line of succession is Secretary of Education Eligio Hernández, who has been at his post since April. Normally, the commonwealth’s treasury secretary would have precedence over the secretary of education. However, Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés is only 31, while the constitution requires the governor to be at least 35.
Want more great elections coverage like this? Sign up for our free daily newsletter, the Morning Digest.