Partido Nuevo ProgresistaPartido Nuevo Progresista (PNP), English New Progressive Party, is a Puerto Rican political party. The party campaigns for Puerto Rico to become the fifty-first state of the American union.
The party traces its beginnings to a 1967 reunion in a sports complex in Carolina, Puerto Rico. On January 5, 1968, the party was certified as an official political group by the Puerto Rican national elections committee. Under Luis A. Ferré as leader, the PNP came to power by defeating the two other major parties of Puerto Rico, PPD and PIP, in November of that year.
In 1972, Ferré lost to the PPD's Rafael Hernández Colón, but in 1976, under the leadership of Carlos Romero Barceló, the PNP returned to power. Romero Barceló would face Hernández Colón twice more for the seat of Puerto Rican governor, winning in 1980 by only 3,000 votes (the closest margin in Puerto Rican election history) but losing in 1984. Romero Barceló's period as governor was filled with controversy. When three independentistas were shot to death in the late 1970s (see: Alejandro González Malave), a television trial followed (the first trial to be televised in Puerto Rican TV history) and much of the public linked Romero Barceló to the killings of the three young men. This, combined with the fact that the then mayor of San Juan, Hernán Padilla, left the party to form his own party, PRP, meant most of the electors voted for Hernández Colón.
In 1988, Baltazar Corrada del Río ran for governor, but he lost to Hernández Colón. The PNP came back to power, however, in 1992, when Dr. Pedro Rosselló, a pediatrician, became the party's leader and defeated Luis Muñoz Marín's daughter, Victoria Melo Muñoz, to become governor. Rosselló then stepped down as governor in 2000. His period as governor was marked by, among other things, the Vieques protests and economic growth.
In 2000, Carlos Pesquera ran for governor. He and Sila María Calderón seemed to be neck-and-neck (based on newspaper polls) until the final weeks, but the turning point of the race came when a Calderón maid from the Dominican Republic went to San Juan newspapers and accused Calderón of being an abusive boss. This helped Calderón, ironically, because later it was discovered that the maid had been paid off by PNP spokesman Edwin Mundo, who resigned shortly thereafter.
For 2004, the party has not decided as of yet who will run for governor, but the general consensus is that Pesquera, still oficially party president, and Rosselló are the strongest candidates.
The party is called the blue party in Puerto Rico because its logo consists of a blue oval with a white palm tree inside it, and the words estadidad, seguridad, progreso (statehood, security, progress) surrounding the oval and written in blue.