With almost all votes counted, option for full statehood was backed by more than 97% – but turnout for non-binding referendum stood at just 23%

A plebiscite in the US’s oldest and largest colony, Puerto Rico, has returned an overwhelming vote in favour of becoming the 51st state of the union, in a result instantly rejected as meaningless by opposition parties, which had boycotted the event.

With 95% of the vote counted, the option of formally joining the US as a fully fledged state was backed by 97.1% of those who cast their ballots. By contrast, full independence/“free association” with the US was supported by 1.5% and keeping the colonial status quo just 1.3%.

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