New poll shows highest level yet of French opposition to EU Constitution

More than 60 percent of French oppose the EU Constitution, a poll released Friday showed, the highest level of opposition in a string of surveys ahead of next month's national referendum on the landmark charter.

The poll, conducted for the free newspaper Metro, found that 62 percent of French adults oppose the constitution, with 38 percent in favor. A similar Metro poll in December found 48 percent opposed.

The Internet poll of 1,000 people was conducted April 20 by the Market Tools agency. It only sounded out adults _ not necessarily registered voters. No margin of error was given.

More than four out of five respondents said they felt they were not sufficiently informed about the EU constitution ahead of the May 29 vote.

The poll was the latest sign that a televised appearance last week by President Jacques Chirac aimed at swinging voters had failed to halt the rise of the 'no' camp.

Many in France are concerned about whether closer integration will cost them jobs; whether EU farming regulations will destroy a way of life in the countryside; and whether efforts to allow Turkey into the 25-member club, as is being discussed, could threaten their cultural identity.

Also Friday, Paris officials announced that voting booths will remain open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (0600-2000gmt) in the capital for the referendum.

Each of the European Union's 25 member countries must approve the constitution for it to take effect.

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