THE CAPITOL – The vice president of the House of Representatives and president of the Committee on Amendments to the Constitution and Electoral Affairs, the representative for the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), José “Conny” Varela, announced this Sunday at a press conference with legislators of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), Dignity Project (PD) and Citizen Victory Movement (MVC) an initiative in consensus to transform the electoral system of Puerto Rico.
“During the processes to approve the so-called electoral reform, we noticed that the project had too many loopholes and violated the principle of balance and the guarantees of electoral purity. Even so, it was approved and, its hasty implementation, produced the first setback in August 2020 when the State Elections Commission (CEE) canceled a local primary for the first time, unleashing unprecedented chaos, ”said Varela.
For the Chamber Vice President, this first event triggered a series of events that kept the country destabilized by the “serious irregularities” that occurred in the general elections. “Our electoral system must be rethought from the law itself to the very structure of the EEC. It is time to carry out a serious exercise in which all parties sit down to seek meeting points and reach consensus to restore credibility to the electoral processes, ”said Varela.
“The Commission (of Constitutional and Electoral Amendments) is going to work on transforming the electoral system of Puerto Rico to give it the credibility, give it the respect that the State Elections Commission had, before the overwhelming approval of the current Electoral Code,” he said. Varela in a live Facebook broadcast.
“Here we are going to study all the measures submitted with the different delegations that you see today (PIP, PD, MVC and PPD). I can call it a historic meeting. The PNP delegation is missing, but I am sure that they are in tune with what is ours, to consider all the measures that are submitted to improve the electoral system of Puerto Rico ”, said Varela.
“We have seen in recent electoral events, primaries, elections, irregularities, stumbles. Currently some results are not known. Lawsuits that have been filed in court. I believe that if we substantially improve this Electoral Code, we could avoid many of these problems, ”said the Vice Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“But it has to be by consensus. And there must be detachment from all the comrades that make up this commission and the Legislative Assembly. We are going to analyze and carefully evaluate all the measures that are submitted to evaluate the electoral system of Puerto Rico, ”said Varela.
Along with Varela were the representatives for the PIP, Denis Márquez Lebrón; PD, the representative Lisie Burgos and MVC, José Bernardo Márquez.
The legislator stated that he will have openness in considering the various measures that will be referred to his commission in relation to the electoral law in force and that he will promote the greater participation of all political sectors in the country. “There are sectors that ask for the total repeal of the Code and others that recommend amendments to the current one, therefore, we are going to evaluate them in their proper perspective. What I do guarantee is that I am going to give due legislative process to such an important issue, something that was not done when the current Code was approved, ”said Varela.
“The analysis of these measures does not rule out citing experts in the field of electoral law or other professionals who contribute to a serious discussion that transcends this dark chapter in the history of Puerto Rico,” said Varela. Public hearings will begin on Thursday, January 21, 2021.