Governor to demand decolonization of Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN – After the State Elections Commission (CEE) reported that “statehood” triumphed in the status referendum, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló celebrated the results and assured they are a “strong and clear” message to the U.S. government that the island demands its decolonization.
In the referendum, which was not endorsed by the U.S. Department of Justice, the free association / independence status option obtained 1.5% of the votes, while the current commonwealth status received 1.32%. The electoral event saw the participation of 508,744 voters, or 23%.
“As of today, the federal government will not be able to ignore the majority call of the American citizens in Puerto Rico. It would be a great contradiction to demand democracy in other parts of the world without responding to the legitimate right to political self-determination that occurred today in Puerto Rico,” the governor declared in a brief televised message at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
Rosselló said that the vote ratifies the results of the last status referendum in 2012, surpassing “the percentage of votes in favor of the incorporation of Puerto Rico as the 51st state of the United States.” In 2012, 53.97% (970,910) of voters expressed they did not favor the current status, while 61.16% (834,191) selected statehood as their preferred status formula.
Although leaders of Popular Democratic (PDP) and Puerto Rican Independence (PIP) parties called their boycott of Sunday’s referendum a victory because of the low voter low turnout, the governor said that “in a democracy, the expression of the majority who participates in the electoral processes prevails. Puerto Rico voted for statehood.”
“As governor, I have the responsibility to assert the results of the plebiscite. I will soon be designating the members of the Equality Commission, who will perform their duties before the federal House and Senate. In that effort, we also count on the leadership of our resident commissioner, Jenniffer González,” the governor said.
The Equality Commission will be composed of five representatives and two senators who will demand the admission of Puerto Rico as a state in the U.S. Congress in a process similar to that used by Tennessee. These members of Congress will be first appointed by the governor, but are expected to eventually be elected by the people.
“It is up to this generation of Puerto Ricans to call for and demand in Washington the end of the undignified colonial relationship, and to begin a transition process for the incorporation of Puerto Rico as the new state of the union,” the governor said, adding that the “historic election” was overseen by national and international observers.
The governor was participating in the celebration at New Progressive Party headquarters in Hato Rey.
The Puerto Rico State Elections Commission results as of 7:15 p.m. Sunday:
|Free Association/Proclamation of Independence|
|Current Territorial Status|
|NOT AWARDED BALLOTS||1|
|BALLOTS WITH NO AWARD VALUE…||983|
|REGISTERED VOTERS IN REPORTED VOTING PLACES…||2,246,728|
|TOTAL ENVELOPES OF VOTERS THAT VOTED BY PROVISIONAL BALLOTS…||5,633|