Puerto Rico’s ruling New Progressive Party (PNP) will today hold primary elections for governor, the country’s most powerful position. The
Puerto Rico’s ruling New Progressive Party (PNP) will today hold primary elections for governor, the country’s most powerful position.
The PNP has faced multiple problems while governing the island since 2017. Current PNP governor Wanda Vazquez faces a corruption investigation alleging mismanagement of government resources. Her predecessor was ousted last year. Furthermore, the island is experiencing a weak economy due to multiple natural disasters including Hurricane Maria in 2017 and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused a shutdown in international tourism; the sector had steadily rebuilt since Hurricane Maria.
The PNP primary pits Vazquez against Piero Pierluisi, who held the role of acting governor before Vazquez took power. While polls indicate that either PNP candidate will likely win the general election over opposition candidates, a survey in March—one of the few conducted—revealed a close race between Vazquez and Pierluisi.
PNP candidates have found increasing support due to the party’s push for Puerto Rican statehood. Nevertheless, the new governor will first face a struggling economy that requires an infusion of more US aid. However, the current investigation of Vazquez could make Congress less likely to approve aid to Puerto Rico unless Democrats gain seats in November’s general elections.
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