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French Socialist Party Ousts No. 2 Leader

June 4, 2005

PARIS (AP) _ France’s Socialist Party ousted its No. 2 official Saturday after he broke with the leadership over Europe’s proposed constitution.

The decision to oust Laurent Fabius came at a conference of party leaders, during which Socialist leader Francois Hollande was expected to call for changes to the leadership.

Party members mostly voted against the proposed European Union charter during France’s May 29 referendum, even though the party officially supported it. About 55 percent of French voters rejected the proposed constitution, which would apply to all 25 EU nations.

Members voted 165-130 to support a measure that included a new list of leaders that excluded Fabius and several allies, who had championed the ``no″ campaign.

``I remain true to my stance,″ Fabius said afterward. ``That’s to say, listen to what the French say, (and) to unite the Socialists to prepare for change″ in the government run by President Jacques Chirac’s conservatives.

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