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Chirac Urges French To Vote For EU Constitution

15 April 2005 -- President Jacques Chirac has appeared on French television to urge voters to approve the European Union constitution.

Chirac said in the debate televised last night that the EU's development as a unified power would be halted if voters say "no" in the 29 May referendum in France.

Chirac said the constitution is needed to keep the EU strong and organized to defend European interests against other world powers.

Chirac said France stands to lose its political influence in the EU, at least temporarily, if French voters say "no."

Recent opinion polls have indicated French voters may be leaning toward a rejection of the constitutional treaty. The constitution requires the approval of all 25 EU member states to come into force.

(news agencies)