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Next in Line for Puerto Rico Governor: Not Gonna Happen

Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez says she's not interested
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 28, 2019 2:30 PM CDT
In this Jan. 16, 2018 file photo, then Puerto Rico Justice Secretary Wanda Vazquez answers reporters' questions, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.   (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti, File)

(Newser) – The woman who is supposed to replace Puerto Rico's embattled governor announced Sunday that she doesn't want the job as the US territory reels from political crisis, the AP reports. Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez says in a Twitter post that she hopes Gov. Ricardo Rosselló will appoint a secretary of state before resigning Aug. 2 as planned. Former Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marín would have been next in line as governor, according to the US territory's constitution. But he is one of more than a dozen officials who have resigned in recent weeks since someone leaked an obscenity-laced chat in which Rosselló and close advisers insulted people including women and victims of Hurricane Maria.

Rosselló on Wednesday announced that he would step down following nearly two weeks of massive protests amid anger over the chat, corruption charges against several former government officials, and a 13-year recession. Marín's resignation had left Vázquez as next in line to be governor. But she says she has already told Rosselló about her wishes, creating a chaotic scenario about who will be Puerto Rico's next leader. If Rosselló's choice for a secretary of state is not approved by the island's House and Senate, Puerto Rico's law dictates the treasury secretary would be next in line if the justice secretary doesn't become governor. But current Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés is too young at 31 years old. The constitution dictates the person would have to be at least 35, so that would leave interim Education Secretary Eligio Hernández next in line.

(Read more Puerto Rico stories.)

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