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Tiody De Jesus Files For Presidency Of Republican Party…Pesquera Won’t Retire From Politics, Romero Barcelo WillPDP Starts Campaign By Attacking Corruption In Education…Record NPP Primary TurnoutAcevedo Vila Invites Pesquera Voters To Join PDP

Tiody De Jesus Files For Presidency Of Republican Party

November 13, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — The widow of former Gov. Luis A. Ferre, Tiody de Jesus, filed Thursday her candidacy for the presidency of the Republican Party in Puerto Rico.

"What compels me [to enter into politics] is the ideal that Luis Ferre Aguayo worked for so many years. This is extremely important. It is very important that this ideal of his continues forward," de Jesus said in a radio interview.

Zoraida Fonalledas and New Progressive Party resident commissioner candidate Luis Fortuño said they support de Jesus’ decision, and each expressed his intention to continue as a national delegate of the Republican Party in Puerto Rico.

Fonalledas said no one else has filed papers for the presidency.

The period to file candidacies ends Friday.

"I am missing [Ferre] today. I’m without him, and I’m sad, and I’m crying every day. Now I have the time to do what I think he would have wanted me to be doing right now," de Jesus said.

Pesquera Will Not Retire From Politics

November 13, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — Four days after the primary election in which Carlos Pesquera lost his bid to be the gubernatorial candidate for the New Progressive Party (NPP), he said he has accepted the results with dignity, but has ruled out the idea of retiring from politics.

"I am not going to retire from politics…I will participate in the NPP directorate, and I don’t want people to say that I quit. I will continue my life, giving emphasis to my family and my profession, but without retiring from what I understand is a responsibility…I want to be the conscience of my party and defend the principles that I have always defended," he said in published reports.

He also warned that former Gov. Pedro Rossello, who won the gubernatorial primary, should give "clear signals of changes" of style and get rid of personnel that represent the old guard because if he doesn’t he could lose the general elections.

"What happened Sunday…cannot be interpreted as an automatic victory in the 2004 elections. There is a sector of the statehood community that wants to see…the Pedro Rossello of 1993, not the Pedro Rossello of 2000, and at the same time with guarantees that what happened will not happen again in terms of corruption," Pesquera said.

He mentioned Alberto Goachet, Alvaro Cifuentes, Tito Laureano, and Angel Morey as among the people that he felt should not be connected with Rossello’s campaign.

Pesquera said a future meeting with Rossello is not a priority; despite a commitment to meet at NPP headquarters once the results of the primary were known, Rossello never arrived.

"We have to remember that I was at the NPP headquarters Sunday night after I spoke at my campaign headquarters. It was communicated to Rossello through his people that we were there, and there we would recognize the change in the presidency. I was available for that meeting, but they didn’t arrive," Pesquera said.

Romero Barcelo Says Goodbye To Politics

November 11, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) - Carlos Romero Barcelo said he definitely won’t run again for elective office and won’t take a leading role in the New Progressive Party’s campaign for the 2004 general election.

Three days after being defeated in his race to be the party’s candidate for resident commissioner, Romero Barcelo said his decision is final. "It is definite. I have never said this before. Starting today [Tuesday], I have quit all political and electoral campaigns," said Romero Barcelo, who has been in and out of office for over two decades.

Romero Barcelo said in published reports that after evaluating Sunday’s primary results, he realized it was time to let other people lead the party, although he vowed to continue fighting for statehood.

The former San Juan mayor, former governor, and former resident commissioner obtained only 26% of the votes, whereas the winner, rookie politician Luis Fortuño, got 61%. Former Senate President Charlie Rodriguez and Sen. Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer got 6% and 4%, respectively.

"I am thankful for the support I have received over the years...but the election results reveal it is time to allow others to run, and that is a reality I have to accept," Romero Barcelo said.

Although it had been rumored that Romero Barcelo would give a press conference later this week, he said he will instead deliver a televised message on Channel 2 at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

PDP Starts Campaign By Attacking Corruption In Education

November 11, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — The Popular Democratic Party (PDP) presented on Tuesday its first ad detailing the acts of corruption in the Education Department under the administration of former Gov. Pedro Rossello.

The advertisement shows newspaper headlines describing several acts of corruption beside a picture of a cheerful Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila proclaiming the importance that education will have in his government program.

"Rossello’s government needs to clarify to the people why it did nothing for the education of Puerto Rico besides diverting more than $1 million to the New Progressive Party," PDP Secretary General Anibal Jose Torres said in a press conference at the party’s headquarters. "It is our responsibility, as part of the majority, to present the reality to the people."

Torres said the PDP doesn’t fear debating corruption with Rossello, who warned Monday that if he is attacked on this subject, he will also attack.

"What we expect. . .is that Rossello answer to the people for what happened in the Education Department under his administration," the secretary general said.

Torres said the ad was designed by advertising company Lopita, Ileana & Howie, though he refused to divulge the cost.

He also denied that it is too early to begin campaigning for the 2004 general election and said they will have funds to pay for it because "the PDP’s finances are very good."

Rossello Welcomes All NPP Members To Collaborate On Platform

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

November 10, 2003
Copyright © 2003
WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate Pedro Rossello said he is open to everyone who wants to work with him in the drafting of his government platform for 2004, stressing his message of unity despite the disputes that surfaced in the heat of the primary race.

"I’m counting on all candidates, whether they didn’t win or whether they are NPP voters who voted for someone else," the gubernatorial candidate said.

Rossello said his main goal now is to carry out a campaign that is able to convey his ideas for a better economy, an improved infrastructure, and a universal healthcare insurance plan.

He also said he would meet with all NPP members to discuss the outline of what will be the party’s work plan for the next year.

The NPP gubernatorial candidate added he was also open to discuss who will be the party’s next secretary general, and said he doesn’t have anyone in mind for that position.

"I haven’t thought of that yet, because I want this to be a process with wide input," Rossello said.

Now that he has won the primary, Rossello said he would meet with Carlos Pesquera to discuss, among other things, his transition to the office of NPP president, which according to party rules officially belongs to the gubernatorial candidate.

Rossello said would let the press know when he will meet with Pesquera but that the meeting should be private.

"It won’t be a negotiation process, but one of re-encapsulating what has happened and what our roles are," Rossello said.

He added that he hopes to meet with legislative candidates on Tuesday and with mayoral candidates on Wednesday. He said he has also scheduled a meeting with those candidates who were victorious in the primary because he wants to have everyone’s input before starting his work toward the 2004 general election.

The former governor–who has been under constant scrutiny ever since more than 20 of his former cabinet members were convicted for participating in government corruption schemes–said he believes he won’t have trouble with that issue.

"It was an issue and the people have already adjudicated it by validating the fact that this party has honest people to carry out a clean and decent administration," Rossello said.

However, he warned that should the Popular Democratic Party resort to personal attacks during the gubernatorial race, he would respond.

NPP Breaks Record With Historic Primary Turnout

Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

November 10, 2003
Copyright © 2003
WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

Just as New Progressive Party (NPP) Electoral Commissioner Thomas Rivera Schatz had predicted, NPP gubernatorial candidate Pedro Rossello announced on Monday that the party set a new turnout record in Sunday’s primary.

Following his visit to the State Elections Commission (SEC), Rossello said in a press conference at his committee headquarters that 570,000 NPP members cast their votes on Sunday, thus surpassing the previous record of 508,000 that the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) set in 1999.

"This is the first documented signal that the pro-statehood people are motivated to participate in the electoral process’, the former governor said.

Rossello also established a new record by obtaining 429,000 votes, the highest total ever recorded by a primary candidate in Puerto Rico since PDP President Anibal Acevedo Vila ran for resident commissioner candidate in 1999 against Jose Alfredo Hernandez Mayoral. In that race Acevedo Vila obtained 284,000 votes.

Unlike to the 1999 primary, Sunday’s electoral event included for the first time a race for a NPP gubernatorial nomination and featured more than 400 PDP and NPP candidates competing for candidacies for mayor, senator, and representative.

For his part, the new NPP resident commissioner candidate, Luis Fortuño, said he received around 72% of the votes while competing against three other candidates. This, he said, surpasses the 56% that Acevedo Vila obtained in 1999 when he only had one contender.

"I think this is an important statistic which also indicate the weakness of the PDP resident commissioner, who is now the PDP gubernatorial candidate," Fortuño said during a joint press conference with NPP Rep. Jose Aponte, NPP Sen. Kenneth McClintock–both of whom were validated in the primary–as well as Rossello Campaign Director Frances Rodriguez and Campaign Manager Juan R. Melecio.

McClintock and Aponte said they were satisfied with the fact that virtually all incumbent NPP legislators were certified as candidates for 2004. They added that this is a the party members approve of their performance at the Legislature.

In the NPP race for senator-at-large, winners included incumbent NPP Senators Norma Burgos, McClintock, Orlando Parga, and Lucy Arce. As for NPP representatives-at-large, NPP Reps. Jennifer Gonzalez, Aponte, Jose Chico, and Iris Miriam Ruiz were victorious.

Acevedo Vila Invites Pesquera Voters To Join PDP

By Proviana Colon Diaz of WOW News

November 10, 2003
Copyright © 2003
WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

Just hours after New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate Carlos Pesquera had accepted his defeat, Popular Democratic Party (PDP) President Anibal Acevedo Vila asked all those who voted in favor of the defeated candidate to vote for him in the general elections of 2004.

"Those who today bravely voted with their conscience in the NPP primary, I say to you today that there is an alternative, and I with all my energy assume the responsibility to represent all those Puerto Ricans who did not accept and don’t accept what Rossello represents," Acevedo Vila.

Acevedo Vila added that not only was he making a calling for Pesquera’s followers to vote for him but for all Puerto Ricans to vote for him.

"The answer is yes. I am inviting all NPP, all independence followers, all populares, all Puerto Ricans who don’t want to go back to that terrible past, I tell them there is hope, and it is here in the PDP," Acevedo Vila said.

The PDP president was joined at party headquarters in Puerta de Tierra by a great number of Sunday’s winners, including at-large senators and representatives, as well as San Juan mayoral primary winner Eduardo Bhatia.

His running mate in the gubernatorial ballot, Sen. Roberto Prats also joined him.

Acevedo Vila appealed to the renovation within the party, since many of Sunday’s winners have yet to reach their 50’s.

"This new PDP is ready to build a new Puerto Rico, but to build the new Puerto Rico, we must leave behind the worst of Puerto Rico, and you all know who the worst of Puerto Rico is: Pedro Rossello," Acevedo Vila said.

But several of the biggest winners of Sunday’s primary are part of a second generation of PDP elected officials, such as Gov. Sila Calderon and former Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon, which raised the question of just how fresh the new ballot is.

But both Sila Marie Gonzalez and Juan Eugenio Hernandez Mayoral said despite the fact that they are very proud of their parents, they were elected on their own merits.

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