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Puerto Rico governor presses for statehood

– Puerto Rico’s governor will call a special legislative session to push for approval of a resolution urging the U.S. Congress and President Obama to honor the results of a recent referendum on changing the island’s political status.

Gov. Luis Fortuno, who backs seeing statehood, said Saturday that Puerto Rican voters embraced statehood and rejected the current U.S. commonwealth status in the Nov. 6 ballot. He said Congress and Obama pledged to respect the results.

In the first question of the two-part referendum, more than 900,000 voters, or 54 percent, said they were not content with the commonwealth status.

The second question asked what status was preferred. Of the about 1.3 million voters who made a choice, nearly 800,000, or 61 percent, supported statehood. About 437,000 backed sovereign free association and 72,560 chose independence. However, nearly 500,000 left that question blank, complicating analysis of voter sentiment.

Another complication is that voters rejected Fortuno for another term, electing as governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla.

His Popular Democratic Party wants to keep Puerto Rico as a semi-autonomous U.S. commonwealth.

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