WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Pedro Pierluisi, a 60-year-old veteran politician, was sworn in as Puerto Rico's new governor on Friday, according to the U.S. territory governor's office.
"Today, my unbreakable commitment with Puerto Rico is stronger than ever," Pierluisi was quoted as saying by U.S. media outlets.
Pierluisi replaced embattled Ricardo Rossello, who stepped down as governor following weeks of street protests in the Caribbean island after the leak of hundreds of pages of text messages in which Rossello and other male administration members made vulgar, sexist and inappropriate comments.
Pierluisi was sworn in as Puerto Rico's secretary of state earlier this week, making him next in line of succession.
Before leaving office on Friday, Rossello said Pierluisi doesn't need to be confirmed to be appointed as governor, citing a 1952 law.
However, some legislators and political experts pointed out the confusion of the appointment process, and said that Pierluisi needs approval from the island's House of Representatives and Senate to fill the role. The House approved his confirmation earlier Friday. The Senate is expected to vote by Wednesday.
In a press conference shortly after his swearing-in, Pierluisi said some people were questioning his legitimacy as governor and that he will respect the Senate's final decision.
"If the Senate ratifies my position there should be no more controversy," he said, adding that he is ready to step down in the case that he is not approved by legislators.
Pierluisi is a corporate lawyer for a law firm which represents the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, an agency Congress created in 2016 to help manage territory's financial crisis. He is also Puerto Rico's former resident commissioner, the island's sole representative in Congress, from 2009 to 2017.
He also previously served as Puerto Rico's secretary of justice under former Governor Pedro Rossello, the outgoing governor's father, according to local media reports.