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Thursday, 27 July, 2000, 12:37 GMT 13:37 UK
Moldova president starts bowing out

The president of Moldova, Petru Lucinschi, has signed into law new measures reducing his powers, after parliament overturned his veto last week.

Constitutional changes have abolished direct elections for president in favour of a vote by parliament.

It's now almost certain that President Lucinschi will leave office when his term ends this year.

But his spokesman said he plans a nationwide address as part of moves to call a referendum, even though parliament has dismissed such a poll as destabilising.

There's been international criticism of the power struggle in Moldova, in which President Lucinschi has appointed four governments only to have them toppled by a succession of parliamentary votes.

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