Puerto Rico governor to run in 2020 local elections

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Wanda Vazquez

FILE – In this Aug. 16, 2019 file photo, Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez speaks during an interview with the Associated Press at La Fortaleza, the official residence of the governor of Puerto Rico, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Gov. Vazquez announced Monday, Dec. 16, 2019 that she plans to run for governor in the 2020 general elections after repeatedly stating she was not interested in the position when she was appointed leader following political upheaval in the U.S. territory earlier this year. (AP Photo/Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo, File)

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez announced Monday that she plans to run in the 2020 general elections after repeatedly stating she was not interested in the position when she was appointed leader following political upheaval in the U.S. territory earlier this year.

Vazquez will face veteran politician Pedro Pierluisi in the primaries of Puerto Rico’s pro-statehood New Progressive Party.

Pierluisi was sworn in as governor in August but held the position less than a week after the island’s Supreme Court found that Vazquez was the constitutional heir to the position after the previous governor stepped down amid political turmoil.

Vazquez, the island’s former justice secretary, had initially said she would serve as governor until December 2020. It is the first time she seeks that position, while it is Pierluisi’s second attempt. He lost in the 2016 local primaries to former governor Ricardo Rossello, who resigned in August following massive protests fueled in part by anger over corruption and the leak of an obscenity-laced chat involving several government officials.

Pierluisi previously served as the island’s congressional representative from 2009 to 2017.

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