Marc explains the news from France...
The story HERE
Jean Sarkozy, age 23, the younger son of Nicolas Sarkozy's first litter, is a rising political star. He's a taller, better looking version of his father. (He's quite tall, quite good looking, and is not half bad shirtless...). He has yet to complete a university degree or hold a job.
Until about a year ago, he was best known as the victim of the theft of his motorscooter, the investigation of which involved unheard of police resources (his father happened to be minister of the Interior, and thus the police, at the time), including DNA testing. In another case involving his scooter, he was tried for a hit and run accident in which he damaged a car while driving his scooter. He was let off, and the car driver was fined for abuse of the legal system (a fine that was thrown out on appeal).
He began his political career by a successful coup against his father's communications advisor, who was running for mayor of Neuilly, the most upscale city in France, just west of Paris. He himself was not a candidate for city council.
He was however elected to the Conseil général, the elected assembly for the Hauts de Seine département, the most upscale of France's nearly 100 départements, and the one in which Neuilly is located (it's worth stating that, since French politicians are regularly elected to jurisdictions in which they don't reside; thus Jacques Chirac simultaneously served as an MP from the Corrèze in central France, while serving as Mayor of Paris). Despite having no political experience, he was chosen as the head of the group of UMP conseillers généraux on the council, which gave him a great deal of influence, as the UMP have a large majority on the council, and sets him up as a rival to Patrick Devedjian, the UMP president of the council.
Just west of Neuilly is the business district of La Défense, France's answer to Manhattan, or more closely, to the London Docklands. The district is run by a public entity called the EPAD, rather than by the mayors of the three cities in whose territories it lies (Courbevoie, Puteaux, and Nanterre). The EPAD is headed by Devedjian, who is forced to retire from his post this year because of the age limit of 65. For some reason the expected waiver to this age limit was not included in recent legislation, leaving the position wide open for... Jean Sarkozy.
His almost certain designation as president of the EPAD, which has a budget of some 150 million euros, has raised eyebrows and caused protests. He has no professional experience, little political experience, and has no higher education degrees (he's currently repeating his sophomore year of university, having failed the first time).
To these criticisms, his defenders respond that his legitimacy as a candidate for the presidency comes from the fact that he was elected by the people of Neuilly to the Conseil général. To which Socialist MP Arnaud Montebourg replies: "Even a goat could get elected in Neuilly if it was running on a UMP ticket".