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Court won't revisit ruling on Puerto Rico vote

A federal appeals court yesterday rejected a request to reconsider its ruling giving Puerto Rico's Supreme Court jurisdiction over disputed ballots in the island's gubernatorial election.

The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Boston, said the full, six-judge court would not hear arguments on the petition by former governor Pedro Rossello, who is trying to throw out thousands of disputed ballots favoring his rival, Anibal Acevedo Vila.

The court also said a smaller, three-judge panel that ruled against Rossello last week would not revisit the case.

Rossello had asked the First Circuit on Tuesday to reconsider last week's ruling, which found Puerto Rico's Supreme Court, not a federal judge on the island, had jurisdiction over the ballots. The ruling was a setback for Rossello because Puerto Rico's Supreme Court had already declared the votes valid.

A lawyer for Rossello, Luis Berrios, said the New Progressive Party would decide this week whether to appeal to the US Supreme Court.

Pedro Ortiz Alvarez, a lawyer for Acevedo Vila's Popular Democratic Party, applauded the court's decision, saying Rossello's lawsuit had "unnecessarily perturbed the Puerto Rican people."

The disputed elections have deepened divisions about the status of the US territory. Acevedo Vila supports having Puerto Rico remain a commonwealth, while Rossello favors statehood.

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