MUS faces hole at top of election ticket
The former Health Department secretary said in a statement that he decided to get out of the race after an “arduous process of reflection.”
Vázquez Quintana didn’t reveal his reasons for quitting and said he wouldn’t comment further on the issue.
Vázquez Quintana served as Health secretary during the New Progressive Party administration of Gov. Pedro Rosselló, but left the Cabinet post amid differences over the implementation of health reform. He went on to head the upstart Civil Action Party in the early 2000s before signing on with MUS.
Inter News Service reported that Vázquez Quintana’s exit from the race stemmed from friction with party leadership over ideological differences and his spotty performance in a recent gubernatorial debate.
However, MUS co-presidents José “Che” Paralitici and Rosa Bell Byron on Wednesday downplayed any differences with Vázquez Quintana.
Vázquez Quintana candidacy had rested on his solid public image and the fact that he was not drawn from the ranks of the island’s independentista or left-wing circles, which some party leaders thought would help MUS attract voters from across the political and status spectrum.
The party’s resident commissioner candidate, attorney María de Lourdes Guzmán, and Senate candidate Arturo Hernández are being considered to replace Vázquez Quintana as the gubernatorial candidate. Former Puerto Rico Bar Association President Julio Fontanez, the party’s electoral commissioner is also in the mix.
Paralitici and Bell Byron said the top candidacy likely won’t be filled until after the party’s general assembly, which is slated for Sunday.
Political parties face an early September deadline for final ticket registrations with the State Elections Commission ahead of the November 6 vote.
MUS is one of the island’s six officially recognized political parties heading into the November elections. The others are the New Progressive Party, Popular Democratic Party, Puerto Rican Independence Party, Working Peoples Party and Puerto Ricans for Puerto Rico.