Puerto Rico: right wins elections

Puerto Rico’s conservative New Progressive Party (PNP) gained easily over the centrist Popular Democratic Party (PPD) in elections on Nov. 4, with PNP gubernatorial candidate Luis Fortuno winning 52.8% of the vote to 41.3% for the PPD candidate, current governor Anibal Acevedo Vila. Rogelio Figueroa of Puerto Ricans for Puerto Rico (PPR), a new party with an environmental orientation, got 2.8% of the vote, while Edwin Irizarry of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) followed with 2%. The PNP won 60 of the 78 seats in the legislature, and the PPD won the remaining 18. The PNP won 48 mayorships to 30 for the PPD.

Governor Elect Fortuno is a member of the US Republican party, which lost heavily in elections the same day in the US. Analysts attribute the PPD loss to popular resentment against Acevedo, who raised sales taxes and alienated an important part of the labor movement; he also faces federal corruption charges. The PNP only gained 31,000 votes over its total in 2004, but the PPD total fell by 183,000 votes as many former supporters stayed home. (Servicio Informativo “alai amlatino,” Nov. 10)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Nov. 16

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