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Chirac TV pitch for EU constitution called a failure

[JURIST] French commentators suggested Friday that a televised appeal [JURIST report] by French President Jacques Chirac [BBC profile] in a "town hall"-style meeting with young people broadcast Thursday evening and seen by over 9,000,000 viewers [Le Monde report in French] has failed to persuade skeptical French citizens to vote in support of the European constitution [Economist backgrounder] in the upcoming May 29 national referendum. The daily Le Parisien [media website in French] ran the headline "Chirac struggles". Le Monde said [report in French] that he was clearly "disoriented by the 'pessimism' of the young". Even the conservative Le Figaro [media website] which often supports the president noted that Chirac "...never got the chance to develop his arguments, other than to say that Europe would not be liberal, that we would be spared the Anglo-Saxon model and that we should not be afraid." French rejection of the European pact could effectively kill the treaty and turn France into what Chirac called the "black sheep" of the European Union. AFP has more.

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