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DOW JONES INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Party Urges Puerto Ricans to Choose "None of the Above"
October 15, 1998
©Copyright 1998 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Opponents of Gov. Pedro Rosselló's
efforts to make Puerto Rico the 51st U.S. state are urging residents to
choose "none of the above" in a vote on the island's relationship
with the United States.
The president of the opposition Popular Democratic Party, which wants
to continue the present commonwealth arrangement, said Thursday a majority
of the party's directors decided to adopt the strategy instead of boycotting
the Dec. 13 vote.
Choosing "none of the above" is "a vote against Rosselló,
against this plebiscite and the imposition of statehood," said party
president Anibal Acevedo Vila.
Rosselló called the vote after a bill allowing Puerto Ricans to
choose between statehood, independence or commonwealth stalled in the U.S.
Acevedo Vila's party is challenging the vote in court, saying wording
on the ballot favors statehood.
Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States since the 1898
Spanish-American War. Under the current commonwealth system, Puerto Ricans
are U.S. citizens but cannot vote for president and have no vote in Congress.
They do not pay federal taxes, receive limited federal benefits and are
subject to the military draft.