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France's Sarkozy wins tight vote on constitutional reform

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France's Sarkozy wins tight vote on constitutional reform


France’s ruling conservative UMP party is celebrating victory after securing one of the country’s biggest constitutional changes.

Legislators have passed a law to reinforce France’s traditionally weak parliament. But the measure was only carried through by the slimmest of margins, passed by just one vote more than the three-fifths majority required.

Before the vote, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon told the special joint parliamentary session that the legislation was the best way forward.

“Today’s disagreements are often tomorrow’s shared viewpoints. So let us try to agree here and now, all together,” he said.

The result marks a major success for President Nicolas Sarkozy as the reforms were among the main pledges of his election campaign. But opposition Socialists and some UMP members say the proposed changes do not go far enough.

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