Governor of Puerto Rico

Governor of Puerto Rico

The Governor of Puerto Rico is the Head of Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Since 1948, the Governor has been elected by the people of Puerto Rico. Prior to that date, the Governor of Puerto Rico was appointed by either the King of Spain (1508-1898) or the President of the United States (1898-1946).

First Native Governor

In 1946, President Harry Truman appointed Jesus T. Piñero to the governor's seat. This marked the first time in history that a native Puerto Rican held the highest office on the island. However, Piñero remained in office only until 1948, when Puerto Ricans were allowed to choose their governor for the first time.

First Democratically Elected Governor

In 1948, Luis Muñoz Marín was elected Governor of Puerto Rico. On July 25, 1952, the Constitution of Puerto Rico was approved by the United States Congress.

Requirements to Hold Office

Section Three of Article IV of the Constitution of Puerto Rico establishes the requirements one must meet in order to become Governor. The governor must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of Puerto Rico for five consecutive years and at least 35 years old at the time of the election.

The Governor serves a four year term which begins on the second day of January after the year of his election and ends on the date his successor takes office. Consecutive service is unlimited, according to the Constitution of the Island. As an example Luis Muñoz Marín, it's first elected governor, served for 4 consecutive terms from 1949 to 1965; the Constitution of the Commonwealth was ratified by the people of Puerto Rico in 1952. His official residence and office is at "La Fortaleza" in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

General Elections

The Governor is elected by a direct vote from the people. The Constitution states that if the margin of victory of a candidate is less than .5% of the votes a full recount of the election must take place. So far, only in the elections of 1980 and 2004 has a recount taken place.

On the same ballot as the Governor the people vote for the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico. This elected official represents Puerto Rico in the Congress of the United States. Candidates for Governor and Resident Commissioner are not paired, meaning that, unlike Presidential elections in the United States (where voters cannot choose between a President from one political party and a Vice President from another party), the people can choose and elect candidates from different parties (which has only occurred in 2004).

Powers of the Governor

The Governor is head of the Government of Puerto Rico. He has the power to veto any number of projects that the Puerto Rican Legislature wishes to pass. The Governor also has the power to appoint the members of his cabinet, who in turn must be ratified by the Legislature. The Governor also has the power to appoint Justices to the Supreme Court and all the lower courts of the island.

The Governor must address the Legislature at the beginning of each year to present a "State of the Commonwealth" speech. He is also the Commander in Chief of the Puerto Rico National Guard and the chief diplomat.

Oath of Office

The Oath of Office for the Governor's seat is the same as the one administered to every Federal position in the United States. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico presents the oath:

:"I, as Governor of Puerto Rico, do solemny swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and the Laws of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

:"Yo, como Gobernador de Puerto Rico, juro solemnemente que mantendré y defenderé la Constitución de los Estados Unidos y la Constitución y la Leyes del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico contra cualquier enemigo interior o exterior; que prestaré fidelidad y adhesión a las mismas; Que asumo esta obligación libremente, sin reserva mental ni propósito de evadirla; que desempeñaré bien y fielmente los deberes del cargo que estoy próximo a ejercer. Que así me ayude Dios. "


Upon the death, resignation, or removal from office (by impeachment and conviction) of a sitting Governor, the Secretary of State of Puerto Rico would then take the office of Governor. In case the Secretary of State is unwilling or unable to assume it, the Attorney General (or, as the position is known, the Justice Department Secretary) would assume the governorship, followed by the Secretary of Treasury.

Latest Election

List of Democratically Elected Governors of Puerto Rico

For a list of all the governors of Puerto Rico, including those appointed by Spain and the U.S, see "List of Governors of Puerto Rico".

External links

* [ Office of the Governor of Puerto Rico]

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