Puerto Rico’s Popular Democratic Party elected Jesus Manuel Ortiz as its new president. There was a recount during the special election where 800 hand ballots were confirmed. Ortiz claimed victory over the mayor of Villalba, Luis Javier Hernández.
The first thing Ortiz claimed after his victory was, “To the school officials, to the municipal legislators, to the entire army of the popular party, my call is one: we are going to do the work together, we are not going to celebrate much, we are going to work hard. From next week, we have to take steps in that direction.” He stressed the importance of unity and the forward motion of the party.
He also noted, “We are going to direct an institutional government plan that represents the priorities of the Popular [Democratic] Party and, of course, our offer to the country. We are going to work with the committee for the future so that this new leadership that is being developed has the opportunity to do the work that corresponds to it within our party and represents an option for the future. Also, we will summarize the agenda in Washington. There is not much celebration; what there is, is work”.
The legislator’s victory in the special election was not immediately confirmed due to the number of hand votes that had to be validated. On the count of votes from the regular polling stations, Ortiz only had an advantage of 179 votes. The PDP electoral commissioner, Ramón Torres Cruz, noted the importance of the hand votes while confirming Ortiz’s victory by saying, “At this time, all the work of the recount to the PPD presidency event has been completed, and it is safe to say that, with an advantage of 180 votes, and some 120 votes still to enter, mathematically it would be impossible to say anything other than Jesús Manuel Ortiz is the new president of the PDP”.
Originally, Torres Cruz and the general secretary, Luis Vega Ramos, did not declare an official winner even though Hernández had 20 more votes than Ortiz. However, this was because they had not counted nine schools.
Hernández’s supporters protested this decision and filled the PDP floor while demanding Herdnaz’s victory.
The deputy commissioner, Jorge Colberg Toro, supported the electoral commissioner’s decision by saying, “To all those who questioned, who cast doubts about the electoral work, about the trials and decisions that were being made, today it is demonstrated that they were wrong and that the decision made by the commissioner and this team was the correct decision. If we had issued a certification on Sunday, with Sunday’s numbers, it would have to be changed today. That would have been a tragic mistake for the PDP. We did not give in to pressure, attacks, insults, criticism, columns, or irresponsible analyzes that were carried out for five days.”
Ortiz has already begun his work by wanting to initiate conversations with the two leaders of the Senate and the House, Dalmau, and Rafael “Tatito” Hernández, about the draft amendments to the Electoral Code.
Ortiz noted that “it is one of the first steps we have to take. I’m definitely going to have conversations with both legislative leaders. I am a representative and part of a delegation, I have great respect for what the caucus of both bodies is. There will be common agendas and issues that we have to discuss as a party. This is a very important issue to me, and of course, I will sit down to discuss it with both the Speaker of the House and the Senate… my line of communication with both the president of the Senate and the House has been positive”.