Embattled Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello has announced his resignation after days of furious street protests in the US territory.
Mr Rossello, who had insisted on Sunday that he would continue in the role, said he would stay on until August 2 to allow an orderly transition.
He has been at the centre of a text message scandal that has already led to two top officials to resign.
The leaked chat, which contained 880 pages of exchanges between the governor and 11 Protesters have been demonstrating outside the governor’s mansion since the leak on July 13.
Mr Rossello announced his resignation on Wednesday evening in a video broadcast to thousands cheering and singing.
“My only priority has been the transformation of our island and the well-being of our people,” Mr Rossello said.
Addressing the protests, Mr Rossello said: “The demands have been overwhelming and I’ve received them with highest degree of humility.”
He added: “I feel that to continue in this position would make it difficult for the success that I have achieved to endure,” he added.
The 40-year-old governor is leader of the New Progressive Party, a Puerto Rican political party which advocates US statehood.
He has become the first chief executive to resign in the modern history of Puerto Rico, a US territory of more than 3 million American citizens without full representation in Congress or the right to vote for president.
Justice Secretary Wanda Vazquez will assume the post less than halfway through Mr Rossello’s four-year term, becoming Puerto Rico’s second female governor.
On Sunday, in an attempt to appease protesters, he said he would not seek re-election next year.
“I hear you,” Mr Rosselló said in a Facebook video. “I have made mistakes and I have apologised.”
“I know that apologising is not enough,” he added.
“It’s historic, but we have to be cautious. What will happen beyond this? There are concerns, but there is also hope,” designer Jalil Serrano said.
Gesturing to the young crowd outside the mansion, he said, “This belongs to them.”
Daniel Lopez, a businessman also in the protest, wiped tears from his eyes as people leapt into the air, beat drums, waved flags, hugged and cried, “We did it!”
“This is for the future of my family,” Mr Lopez said. “It’s big, what’s happened.”
More than a dozen government officials have resigned since the chat was leaked earlier this month, including Mr Rossello confidant and Chief of Staff Ricardo Llerandi, former Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marin and former chief financial officer Christian Sobrino, who also held five other positions.
The messages infuriated Puerto Ricans already frustrated with corruption, mismanagement, economic crisis and the sluggish recovery from Hurricane Maria nearly two years ago.
Source: Evening Standard