The story appears on

Page A11

October 14, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Sarkozy accused of nepotism over son

THE undergraduate son of French President Nicolas Sarkozy has defended himself from charges of nepotism over his bid to head a powerful public agency, but the uproar over his promotion showed no sign of abating yesterday.

Jean Sarkozy, 23, provoked an outcry amongst opposition parties after announcing last week that he planned to take charge of the EPAD agency, which oversees development of the wealthy La Defense business district on the outskirts of Paris.

Leftist leaders have accused the president of seeking to build a political dynasty and say La Defense, which wants to rival London as Europe's financial centre, should be entrusted to older, wiser heads.

Sarkozy Jnr, the president's second son from his first marriage, denied the charges, insisting he was working his way up the political ladder in an honest fashion.

"Whatever I say, whatever I do, I will be criticized," he said in an interview in yesterday's edition of Le Parisien daily. "Ever since I entered politics I have always been criticized. When you pursue this profession, you expect it and prepare for it."

The young Sarkozy was elected as a councillor in the Hauts-de-Seine region last year and almost immediately became head of the ruling right-wing majority in the rich Paris suburb.

University student

Such a swift rise for a man only in his second year of a law degree raised eyebrows in France, but his move on La Defense, which is planning a 1 billion euro (US$1.5 billion) renovation, was a step too far for many.

EPAD, which was headed by President Sarkozy from 2005 to 2006, is seen as one of the most important infrastructure agencies in France.

"At the heart of the matter is a downwards spiral toward monarchism," said Jean-Paul Huchon, a senior Socialist and president of the Ile-de-France region which embraces Paris. "Everything is accepted without shame or restraint."

Newspapers and bloggers have had a field day, mocking the astonishing rise of Jean Sarkozy, while an online petition trying to halt his candidature had raised 43,000 signatures by early yesterday.

The brouhaha over this and Culture Minster Frederic Mitterrand has raised questions over whether the usually assured president might be losing his political touch and ministers were dispatched to the airwaves yesterday to counter the attacks.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend