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Hungary's Parliament Approves New Constitution

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban
Hungary's parliament has approved a new constitution for the country, but only deputies from the ruling center-right coalition, which has a two-thirds majority in the house, voted in favor of the document.

The new constitution was approved with 262 votes from the Fidesz-KDNP coalition, with 44 against and one abstention.

The Socialists and liberal LMP boycotted the vote, arguing that the changes lack consensus and would cement the ruling party's power. The far-right Jobbik party voted against the proposal.

The Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban says it has proposed the changes to complete the democratization process started in 1989, when the communist regime collapsed.

The new laws would curb the powers of the top court on budget matters and allow the president to dissolve parliament if a budget is not approved by April.

The law will take effect on January 1, 2012.