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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. Senate.

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.

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