June 13, 2021

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The discussion on the Electoral Code continues | government

The electoral commissioners have until 5:00 pm today to respond to the motions for dismissal presented by the State Elections Commission (CEE) and by the New Progressive Party (PNP), in relation to the lawsuit filed by the Dignity Project ( P.S).

This community requests that the Court of San Juan declare article 6.1 of the Electoral Code (EC) unconstitutional because it altered the conditions for a political party to retain its electoral franchise after the 2020 elections.

This was ordered by the judge of the Court of First Instance of San Juan, Rebeca de León, after hearing the oral arguments of the parties.

On December 22, the electoral commissioner of the PD, Juan Frontera Suau, sued the EEC and the other electoral commissioners to declare article 6.1 of the Electoral Code unconstitutional.

The plaintiff claims that the statute provisions related to the retention of the electoral franchise should not be applied retroactively.

The community affirms that the application is retroactive because it presented its candidacies prior to the approval of the new Electoral Code.

On June 20, Governor Wanda Vázquez signed the new Electoral Code, which established, among other requirements, that in order to retain its status as a “state party”, each community should nominate candidates for at least 50% of the 78 mayors with their respective municipal legislators.

The Dignity Party states that by express provision of the EEC, it had to submit all its candidacies on or before March 16, 2020, which made it impossible for it to add more candidates after that date.

The law with the nomination requirement was approved three months later, on June 20.

“There is a clear discriminatory and unjustified treatment against PD through the retroactive application of Article 6.1 of the CE. Inequality in the full participation of EEC decision-making, in the reciprocal control that comes with it, in the participation of electoral processes through the real balance in processes as essential as absentee voting, advance, at home, by mail, in the participation in the Permanent Registration Boards and in the economic treatment. The suspicious classification based on first and second category franchise parties is unsustainable under any legal analysis, since it directly affects the rights of PD voters, ”the lawsuit reads.

Likewise, the PD alleges that articles 6.1 and 3.1 of the Electoral Code are unconstitutional for violating the Equal Protection of the laws and the rights of expression, association and the right to vote of the community, its candidates and electors.

Meanwhile, the EEC, represented by the lawyer Manuel Fernández, requested the dismissal of the case, claiming that the PD lacks standing, as it has not suffered clear and palpable damage and that its claim is premature.

It also states that the court lacks jurisdiction as the available administrative remedies have not been exhausted; as the provisions of the indicated law are not unconstitutional – on their face or in their application and the requirements for issuing a preliminary injunction are not met.

It also argues that despite having had substantial time, since the approval of the current Electoral Code, the PD had not raised such matters before the EEC.

They ask for dismissal

For his part, the lawyer for the PNP electoral commissioner, Carlos Rivera Justiniano, also requested the dismissal of the legal appeal.

“The allegations previously expressed by the Project Dignity Party are an invitation to this court to legislate at the convenience of said political party in the absence of valid allegations to demonstrate the unconstitutionality of Law 58-2020. The plaintiff does not have the right to request an ‘injunction’ since losing his electoral franchise does not constitute irreparable damage to the extent that it can be recertified; It has not evidenced beyond an expectation, and this is not a right, therefore, it is not justiciable, “said Rivera Justiniano.

He insisted that the plaintiff has not put the court in a position to show that it has suffered or will suffer damage of obvious intensity. “A mere superficial allegation without specifically establishing what the substantial and irreparable damage consists of is insufficient for the honorable court to grant the plaintiff’s petition.”

On the other hand, Professor Carlos Gorrín, a lawyer for the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), stated that the PD is going to suffer damage after the changes in the Electoral Code. “I have no doubt that the sword of Damocles will fall when the EEC certifies the result. Imminently, the damage is going to occur, ”said Gorrín.

He stressed that in November the PIP electoral commissioner, Roberto Iván Aponte, had raised the controversy before the president of the EEC, Francisco Rosado.

Meanwhile, Jorge Farinacci, legal representative of the Citizen Victory Movement (MVC), affirmed that the case is not justiciable because it is not mature, since the EEC has not yet decided whether Article 6.1 applies to the PD.

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