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Croatia: Parliament Curbs Presidential Powers

Zagreb, 10 November 2000 (RFE/RL) - Croatia's parliament has voted to change the country's constitution to curtail the broad presidential powers that were used by the late authoritarian President Franjo Tudjman. The changes were approved by a more than two-thirds majority last night. Tudjman's former party, the Croatian Democratic Union, opposed the changes.

Under the new constitution, the president retains a key role in defense and foreign policy. He also retains the power to dissolve the legislature -- but only upon the request of the government. The government is to be accountable solely to parliament.

The previous constitution allowed the president to single-handedly dissolve parliament, fire the prime minister, and issue decrees with the force of law.

The changes were among the key promises of President Stipe Mesic and of the six-party governing coalition in their campaigns for office.