Protesters hold a banner featuring resigned Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, center, amid other politicians that reads in Spanish “The 12 disciples of evil. Them too.” as they demand the resignation of Justice Secretary Wanda Vazquez outside the Department of Justice in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Monday, July 29, 2019. Less than four days before Gov. Ricardo Rosselló steps down, no one knows who will take his place and his constitutional successor Wanda Vázquez said Sunday that she didn’t want the job. AP Photo
A Puerto Rico legislator said the U.S. territory’s embattled governor plans to nominate former congressional representative Pedro Pierluisi as secretary of state.
Rep. José Meléndez told The Associated Press that the president of the island’s House of Representatives shared the information with legislators and asked them to be ready to meet in a special session.
Pierluisi ran against Gov. Ricardo Rosselló in the 2016 primaries of the New Progressive Party and lost. He served as Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative in Congress from 2009 to 2017.
If the House and Senate approved the nomination, Pierluisi would become Puerto Rico’s next governor after Rosselló resigns Friday as scheduled following nearly two weeks of big street protests.
Unlimited Digital Access: Only $0.99 For Your First Month
Get full access to Miami Herald content across all your devices.
However, Meléndez and other members of Rosselló’s party have said they will not vote in favor of Pierluisi, in part because he works as for a law firm that represents the federal control board overseeing Puerto Rico’s finances.
“That’s a serious conflict of interest,” Meléndez said.
A special session to vote on Pierluisi is scheduled for Friday, just four hours before Rosselló is supposed to resign.
Pierluisi, who could not be immediately reached for comment, took a leave of absence starting Tuesday, according to his law firm’s website.
In a recent tweet, Pierluisi said the firm’s rules did not allow him to speak or grant interviews.
Puerto Rico “is living unprecedented moments, but I trust we will come out ahead,” he wrote. “My commitment to (Puerto Rico) and my people is firm as always.”