Accessibility links

Breaking News

Puerto Rico Official: Pierluisi to Be Nominated as State Secretary

Protesters hold a banner featuring resigned Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, center, amid other politicians that reads "The 12 disciples of evil. Them too." as they demand the resignation of Justice Secretary Wanda Vazquez in San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 29, 2019.

A Puerto Rico legislator said Tuesday that the U.S. territory's embattled governor plans to nominate former congressional representative Pedro Pierluisi as secretary of state.

Rep. Jose Melendez 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 Rossello 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 Rossello resigns Friday as scheduled following nearly two weeks of big street protests.

However, Melendez and other members of Rossello'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," Melendez said.

A special session to vote on Pierluisi is scheduled for Friday, just four hours before Rossello 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."