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Sunday
Jun112017

Puerto Rico votes for statehood in referendum

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN JUAN) -- Puerto Rico has voted in favor of statehood, according to the governor of the U.S. territory.

Just 23 percent of Puerto Rican voters turned out for Sunday's non-binding referendum, but about 97 percent of them cast their ballot in favor of statehood. Those who preferred independence or remaining a territory boycotted the vote, or cast blank ballots.

Governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rossello said in an address after Sunday's vote, "The people spoke and the U.S. will have to obey the will of our people."

Congress will ultimately decide whether Puerto Rico will become the 51st state in the U.S., but since statehood would give the Democratic-leaning territory seats in the House and Senate, it is unlikely Republicans will support the decision since it could affect the majority.

Puerto Rico has suffered its worst economic recession in decades and its outstanding bond debt has climbed to over $70 billion. Last month, Puerto Rico filed for the equivalent of bankruptcy protection.

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