Puerto Ricans opt for statehood in referendum

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Puerto Rico flag

Puerto Rico flag (AP photo)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – A slim majority of Puerto Ricans want their island to become the 51st U.S. state in a non-binding referendum that would require final approval from Congress.

The two-part referendum asked whether the island favored its 114-year relationship with the U.S. Nearly 54 percent sought to change it, while 46 percent supported the status quo, with 96 percent of precincts reporting as of early Wednesday. Statehood was the favorite option, garnering 61 percent. Sovereign free association, which would have allowed for more autonomy, received 33 percent, while independence got 5 percent.

But the future of the island’s political status depends on who governs the island. Pro-statehood Gov. Luis Fortuno was ousted by a razor thin margin according to partial election results by an opponent who supports the island’s current status.

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