Sarkozy junior in line for plum post
Nicolas Sarkozy's 23-year-old politician son is in line to head the public agency managing one of Europe's biggest business districts, officials said on Thursday.
Jean Sarkozy is expected to replace the minister for economic recovery Patrick Devedjian as chairman of EPAD, the agency overseeing development of La Defense, the district west of Paris where top businesses are headquartered.
The appointment, set to be formalised in a vote by the agency's board of directors in December, would be the latest boost to Sarkozy's skyrocketing career.
Le Parisien newspaper commented that the president's eldest son was "being offered the powerful La Defense business district on a platter" and suggested that he could use the post as a launch pad for regional elections in March.
Jean Sarkozy was elected last year to a local position in Neuilly, the wealthy Paris suburb that catapulted his father to political prominence 30 years ago, and leads the right-wing majority in the Hauts-de-Seine regional council.
"He legitimately wants to take on responsibilities and there is no doubt that he will have the support of all the elected councillors of the governing majority," said Thierry Solere, a regional council member.
But the Communist mayor of the neighbouring suburb of Nanterre, Patrick Jarry, who sits on the EPAD board, said the president's son was not a credible candidate to run the agency.
"It's really an issue of ensuring the continuity of the ruling clan," said Jarry.
As head of the agency, Sarkozy junior will be in contact with all of France's top business leaders at a time when La Defense is expanding, with plans for the new Signal Tower designed by architect Jean Nouvel.
Devedjian, a close aide to Sarkozy, was forced to give up the EPAD chair because he has hit the age limit of 65 for holding the post, but press reports said he was hoping to bring in changes to extend his term.
Nicolas Sarkozy has two sons from his first marriage, Jean and Pierre, 23, and a third son, 11-year-old Louis, from his second marriage to Cecilia Ciganer-Albeniz, whom he divorced in 2007.