Official Set to Replace Puerto Rico Governor Refuses Job

The woman slated to replace Puerto Rico’s governor after he steps down next week said on Sunday she does not want the job.

“I reiterate, I have no interest in occupying the position of governor,” Justice Secretary Wanda Vazquez wrote on Twitter. “It is a Constitutional dictum. I hope that the governor identifies and submits a candidate for the position of secretary of state before Aug. 2 and I have told him so.”

Governor Ricardo Rossello on Wednesday announced that he would step down on August 2 after nearly two weeks of massive protests triggered by a leaked obscenity-laced chat in which Rossello and close advisers insulted people including women and victims of Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello speaks as he announces his resignation in San Juan, Puerto Rico, early July 25, 2019.

By law, Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marin would have replace Rossello, but he too was involved in the chat scandal and resigned earlier this month.

If a new secretary of state isn’t approved in time, the line of succession after Vazquez falls to Secretary of Treasury Francisco Pares and Secretary of Education Eligio Hernandez.

The U.S. territory has been rocked by protests since the leak of almost 900 pages of chats between the governor and several island officials.  The chats, on the encrypted messaging app Telegram, shocked islanders for their vulgarity and crassness and raised questions about possible conflicts of interest and violations of the law.