Jacques Be Nimble
French President Jacques Chirac was expected to woo green voters today and propose that the public be granted a constitutional right to a clean environment. In a speech released ahead of time, Chirac was planning to call on parliament to draft language for the French Constitution that would put environmental protections “on a par with civil liberties.” The speech also reaffirmed Chirac’s support of the Kyoto treaty on climate change and urged a country-wide debate “without taboo” on whether France should continue to rely on nuclear energy for half of its electricity. Chirac will likely face the leftist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in next spring’s presidential race. Jospin’s coalition includes the Green Party, but strategists for the conservative Chirac feel he can lure voters to his side by running strong on the environment.