PARIS (AP) _ The French Cabinet on Wednesday adopted draft legislation designed to boost women's participation in public life by asking parties to put as many women as men on candidate rosters for elections.

The legislation would cut government funding to parties that do not draft equal numbers of women and men as political candidates in local, regional and European elections.

Parliament is expected to begin debating the measures in January.

Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin has appointed six women to Cabinet posts since his election in 1997. However, women make up only 10 percent of France's parliament, the lowest rate in Europe after Greece.

Jospin said the measure constituted ``a major reform in the political life of the country.''

``I have no worries,'' he said. ``There will be enough women candidates to present themselves to voters and to take responsibility.''

President Jacques Chirac also said he hoped the bills would boost the number of women candidates.

Advocates for women's political rights criticized the proposal, saying it would do nothing to prevent the names of women from being pushed to the bottom of voting lists and thus being overlooked.

In June, the government revised the Constitution to add the principle that men and women should have equal access to political candidacy.