updated 12/27/2006 1:09:09 PM ET 2006-12-27T18:09:09

France’s center-right government will next month seek a constitutional ban on the death penalty, the presidency said on Wednesday, more than 25 years after the Socialists abolished the capital punishment. The amendment is to be discussed at a Jan. 24 government meeting and could be put to a special joint meeting of both houses of parliament in late February, it said.

President Jacques Chirac, who is expected to leave office next year when his second term expires, said on Jan. 3 this year he intended to make the executions ban harder to overturn by enshrining it in the constitution.

France abolished the death penalty by an act of parliament promulgated on Oct. 9, 1981 by the then newly elected Socialist President Francois Mitterrand.

The guillotine, the traditional method of execution in France, was last used in France on Sept 10, 1977, to execute Hamida Djandoubi for the torture and murder of a young girl.

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