AFP is reporting that a package of constitutional reforms has passed in France, by the slimmest of margins.
Details are sketchy in the AFP news item, so I am hoping a reader might have some more information.
Some of what AFP says:
VERSAILLES, France (AFP) â€” French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s flagship constitutional reform was passed Monday at a special congress of deputies and senators…
Of 906 eligible lawmakers, 905 voted with 896 counted after abstentions and spoilt papers. 539 voted for the project, 357 against. Under constitutional rules, Sarkozy needed three-fifths, or 538, to reach the winning post.
He did so thanks to Socialist Jack Lang, a former minister who sat on the committee that laid the groundwork for the bill, and parliament speaker Bernard Accoyer, who broke with convention by casting his vote…
The bill sets a two-term limit for presidents, gives parliament a veto over some presidential appointments, ends government control over parliament’s committee system and allows parliament to set its own agenda.
But the clause that dominated public debate is one letting the president address parliament once a year in a US-style state of the union speech, which the French head of state has been barred from doing since 1875 to ensure the executive and legislative are kept separate.
Sarkozy has argued that his reform of the constitution brought in by president Charles de Gaulle in 1958 would make the head of state more accountable to lawmakers and to the public.
As I said, that’s sketchy on the key details.