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French parliament's "yes" to constitutional reform

French parliament's "yes" to constitutional reform
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A special congress of French parliamentarians has voted by the smallest possible margin to accept a constitutional reform bill backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy. The President had staked his reformist credentials on the changes.

The reform bill was backed by 539 votes to 357, exactly the 60 per cent majority of the combined Assembly and Senate required to pass the reforms.

Parliament has long wanted more power to balance the dominant role of the President who stood accused of wanting to turn the country into a “monocracy”. But Mr Sarkozy’s critics claim the changes will undermine parliament’s separation of powers and in effect, crown Mr Sarkozy king.