Wanda Vazquez Garced, Puerto Rico's Secretary of Justice, was sworn in as the new governor after the island's Supreme Court ruled earlier on Wednesday that her predecessor Pedro Pierluisi must step down, local media reported. Vazquez said she will assume the governorship under the succession plan in Puerto Rico's constitution.
She had publicly stated that she was not interested in becoming governor but was next in line to Mr Pierluisi, according to the constitution.
Vazquez said that she was assuming office "with the greatest respect and determination to serve my people and to push Puerto Rico forward", in a communique released after her swearing-in. Outgoing Governor Ricardo Rossello, who was forced from office last week after public protests, had positioned Pierluisi to succeed him.
The high court's ruling followed weeks of political turmoil with Rossello resigning after of days of protests demanding he step down.
Pierluisi, Rossello's hand-picked successor, was appointed secretary of state and next in line for governor on July 31.
But the court on Wednesday declared as unconstitutional the part of the law that allowed Pierluisi to be in a position to take over as governor without Senate confirmation.
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However, the Supreme Court argued that Pierlusisi wasn't a legitimate secretary of state because he did not receive confirmation from both houses of Puerto Rico's legislature.
Pierluisi called for unity and for Puerto Ricans to discard their "political-partisan, ideological or personal agendas", as he stepped down from his brief tenure.
The leaked messages revealed sexist, profane and homophobic comments.
The United States territory still has no leader - and politicians have delayed the vote to confirm a new governor.
Rossello, Pierluisi and Vazquez are all members of Puerto Rico's New Progressive Party (PNP), which favors annexation of Puerto Rico as the 51st U.S. state.
The political uncertainty comes at a critical time in Puerto Rico's bankruptcy and as it seeks billions of dollars in federal funding for healthcare and recovery efforts from devastating 2017 hurricanes.