Connect to share and comment
A 23-year-old second-year law school student is being considered for the job of leading an agency that manages an important financial district that is home to some of Europe's biggest businesses.
But he's not just any 23-year-old. His last name happens to be Sarkozy and his father happens to be the French president.
The results of this saga are loud cries of nepotism, widespread criticism and ridicule, and an Internet petition that has garnered more than 27,000 signatures against Jean Sarkozy’s candidacy since the site was created last Thursday, according to the newspaper, Le Monde.
Online posts have sarcastically called for the younger Sarkozy to receive the Nobel Peace Prize instead of President Barack Obama. One suggested Brad Pitt drops everything to play the younger Sarkozy in a future Spielberg film.
Conservative leaders have defended Jean Sarkozy's candidacy to lead La Defense's business district, where corporations like the oil giant Total and Societe Generale bank have their headquarters, citing that he already holds elected office on the regional council of the Hauts-de-Seine area, representing a part of the upscale western Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine. His father was the commune's mayor for 19 years.
Some members of the leftist Socialist party have been quite vocal in their criticism. "If he did not have the name he has, would he be where he is today?" a "shocked" Segolene Royal told France's RTL radio over the weekend. Other politicians have criticized the nomination because of Jean Sarkozy's lack of experience or a diploma and his age.
Jean Sarkozy told Le Parisien newspaper that he has always been criticized ever since he entered politics and the criticism is something he has come to expect. "But I am determined, very motivated," he said. It has not gone unnoticed that most of the "biased" attacks are coming from the left, he said.
President Nicolas Sarkozy has not issued any statement on the matter. The vote on the chairmanship is set for Dec. 4.