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October 17, 2009

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Majority oppose job for Sarkozy Jr

A MAJORITY of French people, including supporters of the ruling center right, oppose the expected appointment of President Nicolas Sarkozy's son as head of a large urban development agency, a poll released yesterday showed.

The nomination of Jean Sarkozy, 23, as president of the agency that oversees the La Defense business district in Paris has provoked a media storm in France, with the opposition and many commentators accusing the president of nepotism.

The opinion poll by the CSA institute in the Le Parisien daily showed 64 percent of those surveyed thought the expected appointment was a bad thing. Even among supporters of the right, 51 percent were against it.

Critics say Sarkozy junior, a second-year law student and regional councilor, is unqualified to head a body that will oversee a 1 billion euro (US$1.49 billion) redevelopment of La Defense and owes his promotion solely to his family name.

The move has also caused deep unease among many politicians in Sarkozy's own ruling UMP party, worried about public opinion with the unemployment rate among young people under 25 in France at almost 24 percent.

Jean Sarkozy is also a regional councilor in the wealthy Hauts-de-Seine department just outside Paris.

He is expected to be added this month to the board of EPAD, the agency that oversees La Defense, a skyscraper-filled zone of offices and banks. He will then stand for election as president of the body when the current incumbent leaves at the end of the year and is almost certain to be voted in by the board of councilors and state representatives.


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