A sole demonstrator blocks the departing car of Pedro Pierluisi while security attempt to hold her back during a special session of the Legislative Assembly [Gabriella N. Baez/Reuters]

Fewer than 24 hours before Ricardo Rossello is due to step down as Puerto Rico‘s governor, the choice of his successor remains unclear amid a deepening political crisis in the US territory.

Rossello, who is set to leave office at 5pm local time (21:00 GMT) on Friday in the wake of a scandal over leaked messages that sparked mass protests, had said on Wednesday he wanted lawyer Pedro Pierluisi to be secretary of state – a post which would have made him first in line to succeed a governor.

But Thomas Rivera Schatz, the president of Puerto

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