|November 14, 2003
Copyright © 2003 PUERTO RICO HERALD. All Rights Reserved.
Herald Reader Poll: Puerto Rico 2004 Election
Now that the Primary process is concluded, Puerto Rican voters can brace themselves for a full year of speeches, rallies, debates and the ubiquitous campaign ads that have already begun to fill the news pages and airways of the island.
Last Sundays elections narrowed a large field of candidates in the three registered political parties to one winner for each of the major elective posts; Governor, Resident Commissioner and Mayor of San Juan.
The fireworks have already begun, with Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate Aníbal Acevedo Vilá launching corruption accusations against former New Progressive Party (NPP) Governor Pedro Rosselló. Rosselló, who is hopeful for a third term at La Fortaleza beginning in 2005, clobbered his lone NPP challenger for the nomination, Carlos Pesquera, in Sundays voting. The winner is now very diplomatically coxing the looser back into the NPP fold, in hopes of leading a united campaign. A hopeful sign for his candidacy is that some 570,000 NPP voters participated in the primary, a 12% increase over the turnout in 1999.
Rosselló is already articulating one of his major campaign themes, the confusion, mistakes and ineptness of the current PDP administration and its responsibility for the serious economic downturn occurring during its three years in office. Acevedo Vilá is a major player in that administration, headed by incumbent Governor Sila Calderón, who earlier withdrew from any consideration for a second term and, in so doing, threw her Party into disarray.
To his great embarrassment, Acevedo Vilá, currently the Resident Commissioner, was snubbed by Ms. Calderón when she failed to nominate him to succeed her, although she did reluctantly accept him when her first choice, José Alfredo Hernández Mayoral, dropped out for personal reasons and Acevedo Vilá was chosen in a Party caucus. Pay-back time came when Acevedo Vilá lobbied in the Puerto Rican Senate against the Governors choice for chief justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, Secretary of State Ferdinand Mercado. Subsequently, she withdrew Mercados name from consideration.
At this writing, the two PDP luminaries are still fuming at each other, in spite of their protestations to the contrary.
The Puerto Rico Independence Party (PIP) is fielding candidates in all three major races, including another gubernatorial try by the Partys perennial leader, Rubén Berríos Martínez. Senator Fernando Martín is the PIP candidate for Mayor of San Juan and his candidacy, although a long shot against NPP incumbent Jorge Santini and PDP primary winner Eduardo Bhatia, is considered the most promising. Martín gained prominence during the effort to remove the U.S. Navy from its training facility on Vieques in his role as a leading protestor and rhetorical champion. In modern times, the PIP has affected elections and plebiscites mostly by pulling away voters on the fringes of the PDP and NPP, or having its own more moderate members abandoning PIP candidates in favor of those of competing parties.
This week, Herald readers may express their preference for a winning ticket that, barring the withdrawal of any candidate, will appear on the ballot next November. This is the first of what will be periodic samplings of reader preferences as the campaign progresses. Following are the rundowns by political party.
New Progressive Party (NPP)
Pedro Rosselló, Governor
Luis Fortuño, Resident Commissioner
Jorge Santini, Mayor of San Juan (Incumbent)
Popular Democratic Party (PDP)
Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, Governor (Current Resident Commissioner)
Roberto Prats, Resident Commissioner
Eduardo Bhatia, Mayor of San Juan
Puerto Rico Independence Party (PIP)
Rubén Berríos Martínez, Governor
Edwin Irizarry Mora, Resident Commissioner
Fernando Martín, Mayor of San Juan
In your opinion, which Party is presenting a winning ticket to the voters of Puerto Rico in 2004?
Please vote above!