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Puerto Rico leader Ricardo Rossello to resign next week

By Darryl Coote
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Puerto Rico leader Ricardo Rossello to resign next week
Dozens celebrate the resignation announcement of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello, in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Wednesday. Photo by Thais Llorca/EPA-EFE

July 25 (UPI) -- After weeks of sometimes-violent demonstrations opposing his leadership, embattled Puerto Rico leader Ricardo Rossello said he will leave office next month.

The governor announced his resignation, effective Aug. 2, livestreamed message on Facebook Wednesday. The announcement followed mass protests demanding his departure over revelations he and staff made comments in a private group chat that critics say were misogynistic and homophobic.

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In roughly 900 pages of leaked messages, the governor and staffers joked about victims of Hurricane Maria and assassinating San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, among other comments condemned as inappropriate.

Search warrants have also been issued for an investigation into whether he or staffers broke the law in their chats, Fox News reported.

Rossello said Sunday he'd decided not to seek re-election in 2020, though he would remain governor until then.

Puerto Rico Secretary of Justice Wanda Vazquez will take over and finish his term through next year.

"He made the right decision, for the good of both his family and for Puerto Rico, as I let him know," Vazquez said in a statement. "He just announced that his resignation will not be effective today. We will be working together to have a responsible and transparent transition process."

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With his resignation, he sidesteps an impeachment process that had already been started in the House of Representatives.

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