SAN JUAN — A slim majority of Puerto Ricans sought to change ties with the United States and become the 51st American state in a nonbinding referendum that would require final approval from Congress.
The two-part referendum in Tuesday’s election asked whether the island wanted to change its 114-year relationship with the United States. Nearly 54 percent, or 922,374 people, supported the measure, while 46 percent, or 786,749 people, favored the status quo. Ninety-six percent of 1,643 precincts were reporting as of early Wednesday.
The second question asked voters to choose from three options, with statehood by far the favorite, garnering 61 percent. Sovereign free association, which would have allowed for more autonomy, received 33 percent, while independence got 5 percent.
President Obama has expressed support for the referendum and pledged to respect the will of the people in the event of a clear majority.
The island is a U.S. territory whose inhabitants are American citizens but are prohibited from voting in presidential elections. Its resident commissioner in the U.S. House also has limited voting powers.
Citizenship is revoked for 31 Shiite activists
DUBAI — Bahraini authorities have revoked the citizenship of 31 Shiite activists, among them two former members of parliament, for having “undermined state security,” state news agency BNA reported Wednesday.
The names of the activists, including brothers Jawad and Jalal Fairuz, both former members of parliament who represented the major Shiite Al-Wefaq bloc, were listed in the report, which quoted an Interior Ministry statement.
Also named was Ali Mashaima, son of prominent activist Hassan Mashaima, who is head of the radical Shiite opposition movement Haq and who is serving a life sentence for plotting against the monarchy.
Late last month, the Bahraini government banned all protests and gatherings to ensure “security is maintained,” after clashes between Shiite-led demonstrators and security forces in the Sunni-ruled country.
Suicide bomber kills police officer, four others
PESHAWAR — A Taliban suicide bomber struck a vehicle carrying a senior Pakistani police officer on Wednesday, killing him and four other people in the country’s northwest, police said.