Moldova court nixes vote on increasing president's powers

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BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Moldova's Constitutional Court has ruled that a referendum that planned to ask voters whether the country's pro-Russian president should have greater powers is unconstitutional.

The court ruled Thursday that President Igor Dodon, elected in 2016, was overstepping his authority by calling a referendum in the former Soviet republic of 4 million people.

The referendum scheduled for September planned to ask voters whether Parliament should have 71 seats instead of 101, and whether the president should be able to dissolve Parliament and call an early election.

Dodon called the court ruling "a defiant act against citizens and their freedom" and suggested there could be protests.

Moldova's Parliament is dominated by parties that want closer ties with the European Union. Moldova signed an association agreement with the EU in 2014, angering Russia.

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