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Friday 20 October 2017

Puerto Rico referendum backs calls for island to become 51st US state

A Puerto Rican citizen votes during the referendum (AP)
A Puerto Rican citizen votes during the referendum (AP)

Puerto Rico's voters have overwhelmingly chosen for the territory to become the 51st US state in a non-binding referendum, the island's governor said.

Ricardo Rossello said that voters have sent a strong and clear message to the US Congress and the world.

Nearly half a million votes were cast for statehood, more than 7,600 for free association/independence and nearly 6,700 for independence. The participation rate was nearly 23% out of roughly 2.26 million registered voters.

But many question the validity of the vote due to the low turnout and a boycott by several opposition parties.

The US Congress has the final say on any changes to the US territory's political status, regardless of the referendum's outcome.


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