The Governor of Puerto Rico is the Head of Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Since 1948, the Governor is elected by the people of Puerto Rico. Prior to that date, the Governor of Puerto Rico was appointed by either the King of Spain (during the time of Spanish rule) or the President of the United States (1898-1946).
First Native Governor
In 1946, President Harry Truman appointed Jesús 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 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. This marked the first time the people chose their Governor. Muñoz worked hard to create the first Constitution for the island. On July 25, 1952, the Constitution of Puerto Rico was aproved 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 succesor takes office. There is no limit on the number of terms a Governor can serve. His official residence and office is at La Fortaleza in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
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 4,000 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.
Powers of the Governor
The Governor is head of the executive branch 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 Nation speech. He is also the Commander in Chief of the Militica of Puerto Rico. The Governor is also the Chief Diplomat.
Oath of Office
The Oath of Office for the Governor's seat is established by the Constitution. 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.
Upon the death, resignation, or removal from office (by impeachment and conviction) of a sitting Governor, the Secretary of State of Puerto Rico will then take the office of Governor. In case there is no Secretary of State, the Legislature will then chose who the new Governor will be.
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.
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13