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The Associated Press

Partisanship Makes Constituent Assembly A Difficult Task

February 4th, 2002
Copyright © 2002
The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - The different interests of political parties and other particular groups appear to be the main problem in the quest for a consensus to solve the issue of the future political relationship between Puerto Rico and the U.S. government.

The Popular Democratic Party has promised through Gov. Sila Calderon to name a committee during the summer to begin working with the issue. The committee would be comprised of representatives of the three political parties.

However, in 2000 a document was approved stating that the advocates of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will have 65% of the members that will comprise the mechanism approved for the status consultation.

Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Sen. Fernando Martin said one of the factors that should be given more attention to is the representation that the several political sectors will have in that mechanism.

"We will keep on talking about the mechanism, but it is essential that we find a formula that solves the problem of the overrepresentation of one sector," Martin said.

The New Progressive Party (NPP) has refused to sponsor the proposal of PDP Sen. Eudaldo Baez Galib because it believes it to be non-binding and because it doesn't push forward the process to "decolonize" the island.

Former Senate President Charlie Rodriguez argued that although he supports his party's position of not participating in the Constituent Assembly as proposed, he does believe in participating in the discussion of the project.

For its part, the PIP has conditionally supported the discussion of the Constituent Assembly or its equivalent as a process to address the issue of the future political relationship between the island and the U.S. government.

Rodriguez warned those interested in such process that the sovereignty of Puerto Rico lies in the hands of the U.S. Congress, which will be essential in any future discussion about the subject.

Former NPP Sen. Oreste Ramos expressed himself in similar terms when stating his doubts about the legal basis to promote the Constituent Assembly as a way to find a mechanism to solve the political status of Puerto Rico.

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