French President Nicolas Sarkozy is embroiled in a row over the meteoric rise of his 23-year-old son, Jean.
Sarkozy Junior is on track to become head of the public agency that oversees La Defense, the wealthy Parisian business district. The children of French presidents have a habit of working in the political sphere, although none have moved as fast as Jean Sarkozy. Francois Mitterand hired his son as adviser for African affairs. His father denies accusations of nepotism: “In France, it’s education that creates the elite, not birth. What counts in France, to become successful, is not to be born well but to show your worth through your studies and hard work.” But leftist leaders say the President is seeking to create a political dynasty. An online petition trying to halt Jean Sarkozy’s candidature has already raised 43 thousand signatures. La Defense is planning a one-billion-euro renovation. It wants to rival London as Europe’s main financial centre. An ambition that many believe should be entrusted to older, wiser heads.