SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Puerto Rico's ruling party approved a resolution Sunday urging the United Nations to review the island's status, hoping international pressure can help it gain greater autonomy from the United States.
It was the first time Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila's Popular Democratic Party, which has favored the current commonwealth status, has called for such a change. The approval was announced by Vila, who last week said he will run for re-election next year.
Party officials say they want to maintain U.S. ties, but also to be able to negotiate trade pacts and import products carried on ships not registered in the U.S., among other powers.
More than 3,600 members attending the party's general assembly approved the resolution, which was aimed at giving the island greater economic flexibility to overcome a slump while maintaining its current political status.
The U.N. has no authority to change Puerto Rico's status, but party officials believe it can create dialogue leading to partial autonomy.
The U.N. stopped listing Puerto Rico as a colony in 1953, a year after it became a commonwealth in a symbolic move that did not precipitate any political or economic changes.
Puerto Rico was seized by the U.S. in 1898 at the end of the Spanish-American War. Its residents have been U.S. citizens since 1917, but are barred from voting for president and have no voting representation in Congress.
Islanders have voted to keep their loose affiliation with the U.S. and rejected statehood in nonbinding referendums in 1967, 1993 and 1998.