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Sarkozy jr embroiled in nepotism row

world Updated: Oct 15, 2009 12:37 IST

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The imminent promotion of President Nicolas Sarkozy's 23-year-old son to manage France's wealthiest business district triggered howls of protest on Thursday over his meteoric political rise.

Opposition politicians accused the president of nepotism, and the "Sarkozy clan" of tightening its grip on the "treasure chest" of La Defense, a district west of Paris where top French firms are headquartered.

Dubbed "Prince Jean" by the press, undergraduate Jean Sarkozy is in line to replace the minister for economic recovery, Patrick Devedjian, as chairman of EPAD, the agency overseeing office development in La Defense.

The appointment, which is all-but-certain to be formalised by a vote of the agency's board of directors in December, would only be the latest boost to Sarkozy Junior's skyrocketing career.

The blond-haired law student is an elected councillor in Neuilly, the rich Paris suburb that catapulted his father to prominence 30 years ago and leads the right-wing majority in the Hauts-de-Seine regional council.

"I do not doubt for a second that this boy has talent, but he is the president's son and the son of the former president of the Hauts-de-Seine regional council," said Socialist MP Manuel Valls.