By joining the boycott against the plebiscite, the pro sovereignty group denounced yesterday that the consultation on the status scheduled for June 11 will be devoid of legitimacy, for only one political sector in Puerto Rico will participate and for a lack of transparency in the vote tallying process.
The organizations and political leaders of sectors that support independence and free association reiterated their support to the plebiscite, which they had announced last month, because the government amended it to include the current status of the Island, as requested by the federal Department of Justice.
“Not now! Everyone to the plebiscite boycott,” expressed the senator from the Puerto Rican Pro Independence Party (PIP, by its Spanish acronym), Juan Dalmau. He said that, as part of the strategy, they will ask citizens “not to show up at polling centers.”
During a press conference, the call for a boycott was endorsed by the PIP, former independent candidate for governor Alexandra Lúgaro; the representative of the Democratic Popular Party (PPD, by its Spanish acronym), Manuel Natal; former governor candidate for the Worker People’s Party, Rafael Bernabe, and representatives from the Sovereignty Union Movement, and the New National Hostosiano Pro Independence Movement, among others.
Natal, meanwhile, stands together with various other leaders of the pro sovereignty wing of the PPD who signed a resolution to be introduced in the legislature proposing that the party join the boycott.
“How can the New Progressive Party (PNP, by its Spanish acronym) explain to the United States government that the entire political opposition determined to boycott the process?,” questioned Natal. “What validity can the process be given where you were the only one participating? And that is what will happen in all probability once the PPD makes its determination next Sunday.”
“What all of us at this table will mean is that the rest of the political opposition has joined the boycott and the PNP will go it alone in that process. That is how federal and international entities will be told, because our grievance will not be limited to the US government but other spheres as well,” he added.
Faced with the possible result if only PNP sympathizers participate, the former independent candidate to resident commissioner, María de Lourdes Guzmán held that the United States is reticent to taking the step toward statehood, so that it hopes the federal government will question this plebiscite as it did with the 2012 consultation on status in the letter sent last week by the Department of Justice.
Meanwhile , Dalmau emphasized that the plebiscite “will lack legitimacy, both internationally, by including what amounts to a crime, which is colonialism, as well as in the US context … because given the culture of Puerto Rican (electoral) participation, a low turn out will be a defeat”.
However, Dalmau alerted that the plebiscite looses greater validity by “the absence of transparency.” She said that one of the amendments provides that in the event of a mismatch between votes cast and voters on lists, the obligation of opening the vote tallying will be rendered without effect.
“That, in plain terms, means voter list thinning,” said Dalmau.
He noted that article 10.09 of the Electoral Law provides that during vote tallying, where the number of votes cast and voters on the list do not match, the vote counting devices must obligatorily be open and manual count should proceed.
“They rendered that paragraph of the electoral law without effect,” said Dalmau.
“This is a process, which both from the international, the United States, and from the protection and transparency point of view, lacks legitimacy,” he said.