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Sarkozy's son drops drive for plum job -report

THE 23-year-old son of French President Nicolas Sarkozy has given up his bid to take charge of the public agency that oversees Paris's wealthy business district, the website of Challenges magazine said yesterday.

Challenges, an economics weekly, quoted unnamed members of Jean Sarkozy's entourage and said he would announce his decision on French television later in the day.

Jean Sarkozy's move to become chairman of the EPAD agency was denounced as nepotism by opposition politicians and caused widespread disquiet even among government supporters, who feared a backlash by angry voters.

Sarkozy jnr. is an undergraduate law student and critics said he was far too inexperienced to manage development at the La Defense district, which accounts for 10 percent of French gross domestic product.

If confirmed, Jean's retreat would represent a setback for the president, who spent a lot of political capital defending the candidature and clearly did not expect the hostile reaction to his son's precocious ambitions.

La Defense is a large zone of skyscrapers and corporate headquarters on the western fringes of Paris that was created by former President Charles de Gaulle in 1958 and is looking to rival London as Europe's premier financial hub.

Jean, the president's second son from his first marriage, entered politics last year when he was elected as a councillor in a well-off Paris suburb where his father built his own political career.

He was due to be elected onto the board of EPAD today by his rightist political allies and had said he would then stand for chairman when the position became vacant in December.

It was not immediately clear if he would still seek a seat on the board while renouncing a subsequent move on the chairmanship.


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