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|Governor of Puerto Rico|
Seal of the Governor
Standard of the Governor
| Executive branch of the government of Puerto Rico |
Office of the Governor of Puerto Rico
|Style||His/Her Excellency (diplomatic)|
Governor (when presiding)
First Executive (third person)
|Term length||Four years, no term limit|
|Inaugural holder|| Juan Ponce de León (Spanish colonial government)|
Luis Muñoz Marín (Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico)
|Formation||1508 (Spanish colonial government)|
1952 (Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico)
|Part of a series on the|
| Executive branch of the|
government of Puerto Rico
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The Governor of Puerto Rico is the executive of the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as its head of state and head of government and, by its nature, constitutes the executive branch of the government of the island. The governor is also the commander-in-chief of the Puerto Rico National Guard.
The governor has a duty to enforce local laws, to convene the Legislative Assembly, the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Legislative Assembly, to appoint government officers, to appoint justices, and to grant pardons. Since 1948, the governor has been elected by the people of Puerto Rico. Prior to that, the governor was appointed either by the king of Spain (1510–1898) or the president of the United States (1898–1948).
Article IV of the Constitution of Puerto Rico vests the executive power on the governor and empowers them with the faculty to appoint officers. Law No. 104 of 1956empowers them with the faculty to delegate functions. These two faculties in conjunction allow the governor to delegate most of their functions while continuing to be the maximum officer and head of government.
Most of the governor's functions are delegated[ citation needed ] to the chief of staff, who is charged with managing and overseeing all the executive departments and almost all executive agencies. The budget is delegated to the director of the Office of Management and Budget while centralized planning is delegated to the president of the Planning Board. This effectively makes the governor a political figure rather than an administrative one, allowing them to set the vision for what the island should be and where it should go rather than having to be involved in its day-to-day operations. Historically, however, governors tend to be heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the government in both internal and external affairs.[ citation needed ]
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The first known and recorded heads of government in the history of Puerto Rico were the caciques , the tribal chiefs of the natives known as Taínos that inhabited the island before the arrival of Spaniards. It is believed that the cacique rank was apparently established through democratic means. His importance in the tribe was determined by the size of his tribe rather than his warlord skills, since the Taínos were mostly a pacifist culture. Agüeybaná I is the most-well known cacique as he was the one governing all others when the Spaniards arrived in 1493 although many others existed during his period, as well as before and after him.
When the Spanish Empire colonized Puerto Rico during the 16th century, the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León established himself as the island's first governor. Vicente Yáñez Pinzón had been appointed to take the position of Captain General of the City of Puerto Rico prior to the island's colonization, but he never performed this function.As part of the Spanish Empire, the Spanish monarchy was in charge of appointing the governor of Puerto Rico. The person selected was in charge of the island's development and wealth and was responsible for reporting the colony's status to the government in Spain.
The first native Puerto Rican to perform the function was Juan Ponce de León II, grandson of the conquistador, who served as interim governor in 1579.
After 1580 Puerto Rico's government was established as the Captaincy General of Puerto Rico, and subsequent governors held the office of Captain General as well.
On July 25, 1898, at the outbreak of the Spanish–American War, Puerto Rico was invaded by the United States. Following the conclusion of the war, Spain was forced to cede Puerto Rico, along with Cuba, the Philippines and Guam, to the United States under the 1898 Treaty of Paris.Puerto Rico began the twentieth century under the military rule of the United States with officials, including the governor, who were appointed by the President of the United States.
In 1900, William McKinley signed the Foraker Act as a United States federal law, which established civilian (limited popular) government on Puerto Rico.The new government had a governor and an executive council appointed by the President, a House of Representatives with 35 elected members, a judicial system with a Supreme Court, and a non-voting Resident Commissioner in Congress. The first civilian governor of the island under the Foraker Act was Charles Herbert Allen. This system was still used after the approval of the Jones–Shafroth Act, which altered the structure of government in Puerto Rico, and was in use until 1948.
Following the approval of the federal Elective Governor Act by President Harry S Truman in 1947, the governor has been elected through a democratic process every four years since 1948.At that time, Luis Muñoz Marín became the first democratically elected governor.
The current governmental structure was established under the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, ratified in 1952. Sitting governor Luis Muñoz Marín was re-elected as the first governor under the Constitution. Under Article IV of the Constitution, the governor continues to be popularly elected every four years and is the head of the Commonwealth's executive branch.The governor-elect takes office on January 2 of the following year in a public inaugural ceremony which may be preceded by a private oath-taking ceremony.
The governor is head of the government of Puerto Rico. They have the power to veto any number of projects that the Puerto Rican Legislature wishes to pass. The governor also has the power to appoint the members of their cabinet, who in turn must be ratified by the Legislature. The governor also has the power to appoint Justices to the Supreme Court and all the lower courts of the island.
The governor must address the legislature at the beginning of each year to present two speeches, one is the State of the Commonwealth speech and another in which the governor presents the "Recommended Budget" for the next fiscal year, in which the governor proposes to the state legislature a budget for the consideration of said body. They are also the commander-in-chief of the Puerto Rico National Guard and the chief diplomat.
On July 25, 1952, the Constitution of Puerto Rico was enacted by Governor Muñoz Marín after the approval by Congress and the President of the United States. Pursuant to section Three, Article IV of the Constitution of Puerto Rico, the governor must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of Puerto Rico for five consecutive years prior and at least 35 years old at the time of the election.
The governor serves a four-year term which begins on the second day of January after the year of their election and ends on the date their successor takes office. Consecutive service is unlimited, according to the Constitution of the Island. Luis Muñoz Marín, its first elected governor, served for four consecutive terms from 1949 to 1965, but almost all subsequent governors served either one or two terms; the Constitution of the Commonwealth was ratified by the people of Puerto Rico in 1952. Rafael Hernández Colón, however, served three non-consecutive terms: first from 1973 to 1977, and then from 1985 to 1993.
The governor is elected by a direct vote from the people. Candidates typically represent a political party, with every elected governor to date (as of 2019 [update] ) having been a member of the New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico or the Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico. Only a plurality vote (more than any other candidate) is required to win election, rather than a majority (more than half the votes).
The Puerto Rico Elections Code states that if the margin of victory of a candidate is less than 0.5% of the votes, a full recount of the election must take place. So far, only in the gubernatorial elections of 1980 and 2004 has a recount taken place.
Upon the death, resignation, or removal from office (by impeachment and conviction) of a sitting governor, the secretary of state would then take the office of governor until the end of the four-year term. In case the secretary of state is unwilling or unable to assume it, the secretary of justice would assume the governorship, followed by the secretary of treasury, the secretary of education, the secretary of labor and human resources, the secretary of transportation and public works, the secretary of economic development and commerce, the secretary of health and the secretary of agriculture. If none of them is available for succession the Legislative Assembly meets to elect by majority vote of all of its members a governor for the rest of the term. Other provisions exist for the transition between an incumbent governor and a governor-elect.
Similar to some U.S. states, such as California, if the governor is temporarily away from Puerto Rico, the secretary of state, or in their absence the highest ranking Cabinet member in the line of succession, becomes acting governor until the governor's return. In decades past, when off-island gubernatorial travel was infrequent, the powers of the governorship rarely devolved upon the secretary of state or other Cabinet officers. More accessible travel has made the acting governorship a much more common occurrence. During recent times, not only has the secretary of state frequently served as acting governor, but the secretary of justice, and secretary of treasury have as well.
On July 24, 2019, Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced his resignation after two weeks of protests in Puerto Rico related to Telegramgate. He became the first elected governor to resign the post. His resignation took effect on August 2, 2019 at 5 pm. Before leaving office, Rosselló nominated Pedro Pierluisi as secretary of state, intending to make Pierluisi his successor, but his nomination was not approved by the full legislature before Rosselló's resignation took effect. Despite not having been confirmed by the Senate of Puerto Rico, Pierluisi was sworn in as governor, which prompted a legal challenge. Less than a week later, the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico declared that Pierluisi had taken office on unconstitutional grounds and removed him from office, effective 5 p.m. AST on August 7.At that time, the current secretary of justice, Wanda Vázquez Garced, became governor following the original line of succession as it was on August 2 at 5 pm.
The politics of Puerto Rico take place in the framework of a democratic republic form of government that is under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United States as an organized unincorporated territory. Since the 1898 invasion of Puerto Rico by the United States during the Spanish–American War, politics in Puerto Rico have been significantly shaped by its status as territory of the United States. The nature of Puerto Rico's political relationship with the United States is the subject of ongoing debate in Puerto Rico, in the United States, the United Nations and the International Community, with all major political parties in the Island calling it a colonial relationship.
The Foraker Act, Pub.L. 56–191, 31 Stat. 77, enacted April 12, 1900, officially known as the Organic Act of 1900, is a United States federal law that established civilian government on the island of Puerto Rico, which had recently become a possession of the United States as a result of the Spanish–American War. Section VII of the Foraker Act also established Puerto Rican citizenship. President William McKinley signed the act on April 12, 1900 and it became known as the Foraker Act after its sponsor, Ohio Senator Joseph B. Foraker. Its main author has been identified as Secretary of War Elihu Root.
The government of Puerto Rico is a republican form of government with separation of powers, subject to the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United States. Article I of the Constitution of Puerto Rico defines the government and its political power and authority pursuant to U.S. Pub.L. 82–447. Said law mandated the establishment of a local constitution due to Puerto Rico's political status as a commonwealth of the United States. Ultimately, the powers of the government of Puerto Rico are all delegated by Congress and lack full protection under the U.S. Constitution. Because of this, the head of state of Puerto Rico is the President of the United States.
José Luis Alberto Muñoz Marín was a Puerto Rican journalist, politician, statesman and was the first elected governor of Puerto Rico, regarded as the "Architect of the Puerto Rico Commonwealth."
The New Progressive Party is a political party in Puerto Rico that advocates statehood. The PNP is one of the two major parties in Puerto Rico with significant political strength and currently holds both the seat of the governor and of the resident commissioner. In legislative matters, the party has a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives; a majority that gives the party full control over all legislation, including constitutional amendments, without political opposition. These majorities over the legislative branch, the control over the governorship seat, and a majority of Supreme Court justices affiliated with the party give the PNP absolute control over all three branches of government without political opposition. The party, however, has a minority in the number of mayors on the island.
The Independence Movement in Puerto Rico refers to initiatives by inhabitants throughout the history of Puerto Rico to obtain full political independence for the island, first from the Spanish Empire, from 1493 to 1898 and, since 1898, from the United States. A variety of groups, movements, political parties, and organizations have worked for Puerto Rico's independence over the centuries.
The Senate of Puerto Rico is the upper house of the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico, the territorial legislature of Puerto Rico. The Senate, together with the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico, control the legislative branch of the government of Puerto Rico.
The Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico is the territorial legislature of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, responsible for the legislative branch of the government of Puerto Rico. The Assembly is a bicameral legislature consisting of an upper house, the Senate normally composed by 27 senators, and the lower house, the House of Representatives normally composed by 51 representatives. Eleven members of each house are elected at-large rather than from a specific legislative district with all members being elected for a four-year term without term limits.
The Jones–Shafroth Act —also known as the Jones Act of Puerto Rico, Jones Law of Puerto Rico, or as the Puerto Rican Federal Relations Act of 1917— was an Act of the United States Congress, signed by President Woodrow Wilson on March 2, 1917. The act superseded the Foraker Act and granted U.S. citizenship to anyone born in Puerto Rico on or after April 11, 1899. It also created the Senate of Puerto Rico, established a bill of rights, and authorized the election of a Resident Commissioner to a four-year term. The act also exempted Puerto Rican bonds from federal, state, and local taxes regardless of where the bond holder resides.
Norma E. Burgos Andújar is a Puerto Rican politician. She has been a member of the Senate of Puerto Rico since 2000. She also served as the 16th Secretary of State under Governor Pedro Rosselló (1995–1999).
Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia is a Puerto Rican attorney, lobbyist, and politician who was positioned as de facto governor of Puerto Rico from August 2 to August 7, 2019, when the territory's Supreme Court ruled his assumption of office was unconstitutional.
The history of Puerto Rico began with the settlement of the archipelago of Puerto Rico by the Ortoiroid people between 3,000 and 2,000 BC. Other tribes, such as the Saladoid and Arawak Native Puerto Ricans, populated the island between 430 BC and 1000 AD. At the time of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World in 1493, the dominant indigenous culture was that of the Taínos. The Taíno people's numbers went dangerously low during the later half of the 16th century because of new infectious diseases carried by Europeans, exploitation by Spanish settlers, and warfare.
The Secretary of State of Puerto Rico leads all efforts that promote the cultural, political, and economical relations between Puerto Rico and foreign countries, and other jurisdictions of the United States. The post was created by Article IV of the Constitution of Puerto Rico which merely establishes that the secretary serves as acting governor when the governor is unable to perform his duties—a post similar to that of a lieutenant governor in U.S. politics. In recent times, however, the post has evolved into one similar to that of a foreign minister. Today, the secretary is the officer in charge of Puerto Rico's foreign relations, albeit under the consent of Congress or the U.S. Department of State due to Puerto Rico's political status.
Luis Gerardo Rivera Marín is an attorney-at-law and notary and a former secretary of state of Puerto Rico. Prior to this designation, Rivera Marín served as executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and as the secretary of consumer affairs of Puerto Rico. On July 13, 2019, Rivera Marín announced his pending resignation after allegations of his involvement in the Telegramgate scandal. His resignation took effect on July 31, 2019.
The Popular Democratic Party is a political party in Puerto Rico that advocates to continue as a Commonwealth of the United States with self-government. The party was founded in 1938 by dissidents from the Puerto Rican Liberal Party and the Unionist Party and originally promoted policies on the center-left. In recent years, however, its leaders have described the party as centrist.
The proposed political status for Puerto Rico encompasses the different schools of thought on whether Puerto Rico, currently a Commonwealth of the United States, should change its current political status. Although there are many differing points of view, there are four that emerge in principle: that Puerto Rico maintains its current status, becomes a state of the United States, becomes fully independent, or becomes a freely associated state.
The 2016 Puerto Rico gubernatorial election was held on November 8, 2016, to elect the Governor of Puerto Rico. The incumbent Popular Democratic Governor Alejandro García Padilla did not run for re-election. The election was won by Ricardo Rosselló, who received 41% of the vote in a four-way race.
Wanda Vázquez Garced is a Puerto Rican politician and attorney who has been the Governor of Puerto Rico since August 7, 2019. Prior to her tenure as governor, she served as secretary of justice from 2017 to 2019. A member of the New Progressive Party and Republican Party of Puerto Rico, Vázquez Garced is the second female governor in Puerto Rico history after Sila María Calderón, who was governor from 2001 to 2005.
Telegramgate, also known as Chatgate, or RickyLeaks was a political scandal involving Ricardo Rosselló, then Governor of Puerto Rico, which began on July 8, 2019, with the leak of hundreds of pages of a group chat on the messaging application Telegram between Rosselló and members of his staff from his term. The messages were considered vulgar, racist, and homophobic toward several individuals and groups, and discussed how they would use the media to target potential political opponents. The leak came in the midst of allegations by former Secretary of Treasury of Puerto Rico, Raúl Maldonado Gautier, that his department boasted an "institutional mafia" that Rosselló was involved in. The leaks also came a year after a previous scandal, dubbed WhatsApp Gate, involving other members of Rosselló's cabinet.