Hungary's parliament to vote on new constitution

BUDAPEST - Hungary's Fidesz will pass a new constitution through parliament on Monday, despite a boycott from opposition parties who say it lacks consensus and would cement the ruling party's power beyond the end of its term.

Center-right Fidesz, which swept to power with a two-thirds parliamentary majority in 2010, has overhauled the constitution and says the new laws will complete the democratization process started in 1989 when the communist regime collapsed.

Thousands of civilians protested on Friday against the new constitution, which human rights and civil groups said would weaken democratic checks and balances when it comes into force on Jan. 1, 2012.

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