Puerto Rico’s House voted in favor of the outgoing governor’s chosen successor, Pedro Pierluisi, keeping his nomination alive for now.
But confirmation by one of the island’s two chambers will do little to ease uncertainty about who will become Puerto Rico’s next governor when the current one -- forced out by weeks of massive street protests -- officially steps down at 5 p.m. Friday. Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz delayed a discussion of Pierluisi’s nomination until Monday.
Legal scholars have debated whether Pierluisi could take power as governor without being confirmed by both chambers of the legislature.
When the governor’s resignation becomes effective, “we will still have an unconfirmed designated secretary of state, and the question being if his post would be viewed as interim,” said Efren Rivera Ramos, a legal scholar at the University of Puerto Rico. “If so, the secretary of state may be able to govern even if he is not confirmed by the legislature.”