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Puerto Rico's Close Election Mirrors U.S. Presidential Campaign

Calderon Becomes First Woman Governor


Puerto Rico's Close Election Mirrors U.S. Presidential Campaign

November 7, 2000
Copyright © 2000 PR NEWSWIRE. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN -- In one of the closest elections in Puerto Rico history, New Progressive Party (NPP) candidate Carlos Pesquera narrowly lost to Popular Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Sila Calderon. The NPP incumbent Resident Commissioner Carlos Romero Barcelo also lost to the PDP's Anibal Acevedo Vila. Throughout the night, the results were almost too close to call.

"The results of this election should not be viewed as a referendum on the progress made on the island over the last eight years which was virtually ignored. Rather, it is simply personality permeating politics," said NPP Senator Kenneth McClintock, who won reelection tonight.

"I think it is important to note that the close contest on the mainland was reflected in the results on the island. The campaign, like the Bush-Gore contest, needed to focus more on the issues, and less on inconsequential details. Yet, the electorate chose to base its decision on individuals, personalities and perceptions," said McClintock.

"Unfortunately, the tremendous economic strides achieved by the NPP in Puerto Rico, on behalf of the island’s 4 million U.S. citizens, were not contested. The opposition chose instead to campaign against the outgoing administration rather than Carlos Pesquera. It obviously resonated with the voters," added McClintock.

A major bright spot for the NPP was Jorge Santini's victory in winning election as mayor of San Juan, the first time an NPP candidate has done so in 12 years. A rising star in the NPP, Santini’s presence will undoubtedly be felt in the upper echelons of island politics for years to come.

Puerto Rico typically has a voter turnout rate of over 80%, and this election was no different.


Calderon Becomes First Woman Governor Of Puerto Rico

By Ivonne Garcia and Proviana Colon Diaz

November 8, 2000
Copyright © 2000 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN — Popular Democratic Party (PDP) President Sila Calderon on Tuesday became the first woman governor of Puerto Rico, arriving at overflowing party headquarters by 10:25 p.m. to give her acceptance speech.

With almost 52% of the votes counted, Calderon held on to a 48.3% lead to New Progressive Party (NPP) President Carlos Pesquera's 46.4%. Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) President Ruben Berrios had obtained 4.7% of the votes.

This is the PDP's first gubernatorial electoral win since 1988.

At 10 p.m., Pesquera conceded defeat, saying he was the best candidate "despite the results."

For his part, Gov. Pedro Rossello congratulated Calderon and said he would be available to begin the transition as soon as possible. Rossello thanked Pesquera and said he was "surprised" by the results, because he expected the NPP candidate to win.

"I believed that Pesquera, his team and our party had carried out a campaign that carried the message that the people wanted to hear," Rossello said. "I expected the people to respond in kind but that's life."

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