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Puerto Rico justice secretary says she doesn't want to be governor

Puerto Rico's Secretary of Justice Wanda Vazquez. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters San Juan Jul 29, 2019, 11.03 AM (IST)

The woman in line to be the governor of Puerto Rico after Ricardo Rosselló steps down next week said on Sunday she does not want the job running the US territory.

Rosselló said last week he will step down on August 2 in the face of mass street protests and public outrage over the release of profane chat messages and embezzlement charges against two former administration officials.

Secretary of Justice Wanda Vázquez is next in line to succeed Rosselló as governor because Puerto Rico currently has no secretary of state, who would have precedence. But on Sunday she said she had no interest in taking the reins.

"I hope the governor identifies and submits a candidate for secretary of state before August 2 and I have told him as much," Vázquez wrote on Twitter.

Protesters who forced Rosselló from office had opposed Vázquez, saying she is too close to the disgraced governor.

Puerto Rico's previous secretary of state, Luis Rivera Marín, resigned in the wake of the chat scandal.

Three people now look to be in the strongest positions to succeed Rosselló: Pedro Pierluisi, a former Puerto Rico representative in the US Congress and now an attorney with Washington law firm O'Neill & Borges; Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz; and Jenniffer Gonzalez, Puerto Rico's current delegate to the US Congress.

Puerto Ricans want a leader to steer them out of crisis and economic recession after back-to-back 2017 hurricanes that killed around 3,000 people just months after the US territory filed for bankruptcy.
 

Story highlights

Rosselló said last week he will step down on August 2 in the face of mass street protests and public outrage over the release of profane chat messages and embezzlement charges against two former administration officials.