Pedro Pierluisi became the governor of Puerto Rico Saturday — again — 16 months after he was bounced out of the job by the US commonwealth’s supreme court.
The longtime politician, 61, who heads the pro-statehood New Progressive Party, was elected in November in a six-way gubernatorial race with only 33 percent of the vote, after trouncing the sitting governor, Wanda Vázquez, in an August primary contest.
In 2019, Pierluisi served a six-day stint as Puerto Rico’s de facto governor during the chaotic period after Gov. Ricardo Rosselló was forced out of office by mass protests over insulting text messages he had sent.
But after less than a week, Puerto Rico’s supreme court ruled that Pierluisi, who had been appointed to the position of secretary of state but not confirmed by the island’s legislature, could not legally serve as Rosselló’s successor.
This time, Pierluisi took the oath of office in an outdoor ceremony in San Juan before 400 invited guests — all of whom, he promised this week, had to test negative for coronavirus before attending.
Pierluisi’s pro-statehood stance could have major implications for US politics, as left-leaning Democrats increasingly clamor to make the commonwealth the 51st state — a change that would add two seats to the US Senate and likely increase Democratic strength there.
“I’m very keen to start working,” Pierluisi told reporters Saturday, with plans to begin signing executive orders this weekend.
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