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Moldovan Leaders Agree On Single Change To Constitution

CHISINAU -- Moldova's ruling coalition says it will seek to change just one article in the country's constitution and not press for more ambitious changes, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

The four-party Alliance for European Integration (AIE) asked the Constitutional Court on April 15 to consider a proposal for the country's president to be elected in a direct election. The president is currently elected by parliament and needs three-fifths of the parliament's total votes, making it easy for an opposition party to block the government's chosen candidate.

Deputies from the opposition Communist Party rejected AIE candidate Marian Lupu twice last year, leaving parliament speaker Mihai Ghimpu to serve as acting president.

But the Communists have said they might support changing election rules if members of the ruling coalition give up plans for more sweeping amendments to the constitution.

Ghimpu is said to have suggested changing the name of the official language from Moldovan to Romanian, lowering the voting age from 18 to 16, and even scrapping Moldova's neutrality, a move that would have upset longtime ally Russia.