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Unpopular Mulroney vows to hold on

Canada's unpopular prime minister says he won't quit even if a proposed constitutional accord is rejected by voters.

Brian Mulroney laughed off suggestions he should quit if Canadians reject the unity package in the referendum Oct. 26.

Mulroney said a case could then be made that approval of the package means "we are automatically considered re-elected for another term." He must call an election by November 1993.

As support for the accord slips, there is concern that Mulroney's unpopularity _ in the teens in public opinion polls _ will cause voters to turn against the pact.

Polls suggest support for the accord has fallen dramatically in Ontario, Canada's most populous province.

A Gallup poll says the accord also is in trouble in Quebec, the Prairies and British Columbia. Nationally, the survey gave each side 41 percent support, with 18 percent undecided.

The constitutional amendments are aimed at appeasing French Quebec's demands for recognition as a "distinct society" with additional powers. The alternative is the possibility Quebec will declare independence from Canada.

The amendments give added powers to the nine other provinces and territories; allow native self-government; expand the House of Commons; and make the Senate an elected body with veto powers.