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PuertoRicoWOW News Service

NPP To Campaign In Nov. 6 Referendum

By Proviana Colon Diaz

September 10, 2001
Copyright © 2001 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All Rights Reserved.

The New Progressive Party (NPP) requested on Monday to be certified by the State Elections Commission (SEC) as the official institution in favor of the option to oust the U.S. Navy by May 2003.

Thus the party will actively campaign in favor of the column in Vieques, which will include meeting with anti-Navy leaders in hope that they will support the option.

NPP President Leo Diaz announced the party decision on Monday following the morning long meeting by the party directory.

"With this decision not only do we guarantee the departure on or before May 2003 but also we will look for mechanisms to get it out of Vieques before such date," Diaz said.

By soliciting the representation of such column, if any other group or party would like to represent such column then the SEC will have to divide and assign who works in what college.

The collectivity can't oppose that any one else be accredited to represent such column, NPP electoral commissioner Pedro Figueroa said.

Diaz said the decision was approved by the majority with the exception of senators Norma Burgos and Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer who abstained themselves from voting.

Burgos said she decided to abstained herself from voting because the option includes the continuation of military practices with inert bombs and thus morally she can't support it.

"I abstained myself, fundamentally because at this moment the text includes the continuation of bombing with inert ammunition, and consciously I can't support such language," Burgos said.

Burgos and Ramirez de Ferrer decision goes against a party approved resolution during their recent assembly, in which it was stated any member of the collectivity, which openly acts against the party official position, could be subject to disciplinary action.

Still Diaz declined to say whether disciplinary action would be taken against the duo or not.

"Disciplinary actions will be taken against members of the party depending on the situation," said Diaz adding that a committee could be evaluating both Burgos and Ramirez position before reaching a decision.

Burgos however congratulated the party on their decision.

As an institution the NPP has defended the President Bill Clinton - Gov. Pedro Rossello agreement over the U.S. Navy presence in Vieques which enables by federal law the Nov. 6 referendum.

"Today time gives this party the reason," Diaz said adding that the Rossello-Clinton agreement is the first within the U.S. to allow civil society to decide the future of a military base within its jurisdiction

Diaz did not loose the chance to criticize Gov. Sila Calderon for the "lie" she promoted when enabling the July 29 local referendum.

However several prominent leaders, including Ramirez de Ferrer and House Minority Leader Edison Misla Aldarondo campaign in favor to the permanent stay and continuation of live bombing in Vieques during the local referendum.

The option of the immediate and permanent halt of military practices, the cleaning of the land and the departure of the Navy, an option not included in the Nov. 6, referendum, won by 68% of the votes.

Participating in Monday's extraordinary meeting where also Sen. Lucy Arce and Migdalia Padilla, as well as party president candidate Carlos Pesquera.

The issue of candidacies within the party did not elude Monday meeting, as Burgos announced she would not be seeking the re-election to the First Vice-President post and Rep. Melinda Romero announced she will be seeking the second vice-president post.

Romero announced her decision during a separate press conference in Condado.

NPP members will choose between Arce and Romero for the post, the only two females who have so far officially announced their intentions to run.

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