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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moldovan: Just Don't Call It Romanian

Chisinau, Moldova -- What's in a name? A lot, according to the Moldovan parliament, which Friday voted down a proposal to start calling their language Romanian.

Although the two languages are virtually identical, the proposal was defeated on a 58-25 vote. "This proposal is against the national interest of the overwhelming majority of the population," said Victor Cecan, the head of parliamentary legal committee.

Moldova was part of Romania until it was annexed in 1940 by the Soviet Union. Two-thirds of its 4.3 million people are ethnic Romanians. Moldova sought closer cultural and spiritual ties with Romania after independence in 1991. But in 1994, Moldova moved closer to Moscow, joining the CIS.

The proposal stems from a series of protests staged after the adoption of a new constitution in 1994 that calls the national language Moldovan.