SAN JUAN (AP) – The governor of Puerto Rico announced Monday that he will not seek a second four-year term leading this debt-swamped U.S. territory.
In a brief televised message, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said running for the November election as the candidate for the Popular Democratic Party would be a distraction even though he wants to campaign "with all my heart."
"Over the coming months, it would be inconsistent with putting all my efforts to bring Puerto Rico out this crisis and prevent those who created the crisis to return to power," Garcia said.
Struggling Puerto Rico faces more than $900 million in bond payments in January, including a $357 million general obligation bond payment due Jan. 1. It would be the island's first major default if the payment is not made. Puerto Rico's Public Finance Corporation already missed a $58 million bond payment in August.
Last week, Garcia said it was probable that the U.S. island will be unable to make more upcoming debt payments because it has no more money amid a worsening economic crisis. He made the comments during a trip to Washington to meet with Republican legislators and others before a vote by Congress that might include a provision giving Puerto Rico public agencies access to Chapter 9 bankruptcy provisions.
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Like all U.S. states and territories, Puerto Rico currently cannot declare bankruptcy under federal law, though mainland municipalities and their public utilities can.