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Romania: Lawmakers Approve New Constitution

Bucharest, 30 June 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Romania's lower house of parliament today adopted a new constitution in line with European Union requirements. The Chamber of Deputies easily passed the measure, 254-0. Lawmakers from the opposition ultranationalist Greater Romania Party boycotted the vote to protest a provision granting minorities the right to use their languages in public administration and justice.

The new law would grant EU citizens similar rights with Romanians after the country's admission to the bloc. EU legislation also would be given priority over domestic laws. Changes also include an increase of the president's term in office from four years to five.

The new constitution needs to be approved by the upper house, the Senate, and signed by President Ion Iliescu. Romanian citizens then will have to approve it in a referendum.