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The Orlando Sentinel

PDP Split May Mean Low Turnout

by Iván Román

October 15, 2000
Copyright © 2000 The Orlando Sentinel. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- With three weeks to go until Election Day, the ogre of division within the opposition Popular Democratic Party`s ranks is once again rearing its head.

Party leaders fear the rank and file, still licking their wounds from a blistering primary battle last year, could have an excuse to stay home if they were offended by what one of their own legislators said Thursday about former Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon.

PDP Rep. Jorge de Castro Font accused the former governor of only halfheartedly campaigning for his former chief of staff and secretary of state, the PDP`s gubernatorial candidate Sila Maria Calderon. Many in the party criticize Calderon for her tactics to get the voters to back her choice for the party`s candidate for Resident Commissioner, Rep. Anibal Acevedo Vila, over the former governor`s son, Jose Alfredo Hernandez Mayoral. That bad blood seems to be behind the cool public relationship between Calderon and her former boss, some say.

It shows in his speeches when Hernandez Colon urges people to vote for the party, but doesn`t say Calderon`s name.

"These speeches in which you can read things between the lines is creating a lot of discontent and division in the party," de Castro Font said. "He needs to speak out in her favor strongly and convincingly and not just to help his son."

Hernandez Mayoral, who has campaigned for Calderon, called on Calderon to censure de Castro Font.

Before Calderon could say whether she would censure him, de Castro Font took back what he said.

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