The Latest: Pierluisi closer to confirmation in Puerto Rico

The Latest on Puerto Rico’s political crisis (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

A commission of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives has recommended confirming Pedro Pierluisi as secretary of state, removing one obstacle to him becoming governor in just over an hour.

That sends Pierluisi’s nomination to a full vote of the House. But even if the House approves him, his fate remains unclear.

The secretary of state is next to line for the governor’s chair if the chief executive resigns. But the issue of who is rightfully governor is almost certain to go to court. Some believe that because the legislature wasn’t in session when Pierluisi was appointed, he’s already secretary of state unless the legislature rejects him.

Others argue that he still needs to be confirmed — some say just by the House of Representatives. Others say the Senate has to approve him too.

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is due to step down at 5 p.m., a resignation he promised in response to weeks of popular protest over mismanagement, and a series of leaked chats in which he and advisers denigrate a range of Puerto Ricans.

If Pierluisi does not become governor, the position is taken by Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez, who is not widely popular and already is the target of protests.


9:40 a.m.

Legislators in Puerto Rico are grilling the man who might become the next governor of a U.S. territory mired in political turmoil.

Former congressional representative Pedro Pierluisi sat alone as he faced more than two dozen legislators in the first of two public hearings being held Friday just hours before Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is scheduled to resign.

The room was packed with current and former government officials Friday, while Puerto Ricans across the island remain unclear who might be their next leader.

Members of a House committee met with Pierluisi first, and then the House of Representatives is scheduled to debate the nomination before a vote.

Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez could become governor if Pierluisi is not approved.

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