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Puerto Rico’s deadlock has ended, but problems persist

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Significance

Vazquez did not seek the role, but it fell to her after the August 2 resignation of Ricardo Rossello, followed by the nine-member Puerto Rican Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling yesterday that his handpicked successor Pedro Pierluisi’s succession to the governorship was unconstitutional. This political turmoil comes as the island faces economic difficulty and other long-standing challenges.

Impacts

  • The experience of effective mass protests to remove Rossello could dent faith in formal politics and bring more protests.
  • The unrest, and potential for more, may undermine business confidence and investor sentiment.
  • Puerto Rico will factor in the 2020 US election, given the 5 million Puerto Rican voters on the mainland, many in Florida.
  • Any broad agreement on political and regulatory reforms is unlikely to be crafted before 2021.
  • The earliest timetable for any real economic recovery has been set back to the second half of the 2020s.
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