Guerrero: Kevin de León’s bid for sympathy digs a deeper hole for the party.
The left-leaning Democratic Union of the Popular Forces (MUD) has been in charge in Puerto Rico’s government since October, when the island’s governor, Alejandro García Padilla, resigned amidst accusations of corruption. The left-leaning Popular Democratic Party (PPD) came to power in a landslide, carrying out what analysts are calling a “democratic coup d’état.”
García Padilla’s replacement is Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Flores, an accomplished Puerto Rican woman who won the post on a single race for delegate, winning almost two-thirds of the vote.
The controversy-filled election campaign has been dominated by accusations of ballot rigging and irregularities. At the center of the allegations is Puerto Rico’s electoral board, which has been accused of favoritism towards Ms. González Flores, who has held a position of political trust since joining the electoral board last summer.
In response to the controversy, Puerto Rico’s governor is considering appointing a new electoral board member.
The recent run-up in the campaign has been accompanied by an increase in violence toward candidates, journalists, and police officers. Ms. González Flores has been called a “hired gun” by the New York Times, and her candidacy has been attacked by the island’s governor, who called her “a puppet and a spy for the United States.”
The Democratic Union has said Ms. González Flores is “under siege” and has sought to discredit her before the nation’s media. The party has also expressed its support for Puerto Rican protesters at a May Day demonstration in the city of San Juan.
The Puerto Rican crisis is a testament to the power of solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico, but it also speaks to the challenge that the island’s electoral board faces in creating a credible electoral system.
Ms. González Flores’s candidacy was opposed by both the U.S. and Puerto Rican governments for several reasons: she is a woman and openly gay, she is seen as too close to PPD leader Juan Carlos Puig, the U.S. has a treaty with Puerto Rico requiring them to provide support for those elected, and she is seen as too closely aligned with the U.