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An overview of the stories making the French and international newspaper headlines. From Monday to Friday live at 7.20 am and 9.20 am Paris time.

Latest update : 2009-10-23

Controversy over age and experience forces Jean Sarkozy to stand down

The President’s 23-year-old son has given up his campaign to be elected manager of the La Défense business district. Jean Sarkozy revealed his decision on the France 2 evening news yesterday. Most French papers lead with the story this morning.

“Jean Sarkozy gives up the presidency of EPAD,” reads the front page of the right-leaning Le Figaro. The 23-year old son of the French President announced the move on the France 2 evening news yesterday and said he took the decision on his own. Many UMP MPs have welcomed what they say is a “mature decision” the paper says. However, Le Figaro points out that more and more members of the ruling party were expressing their unhappiness over “a controversy on a rarely seen scale.”

Libération’s headline is « le sacrifice d’un fils » or the “sacrifice of a son”. This infers that Jean Sarkozy’s expected election to the top administrative job was being orchestrated by the Elysée Palace, a charge that the President’s son has always denied. The paper calls it a “major turn around for the Elysée”.

The editorial says that “the press was presented as the primary perpetrator of a cowardly witch hunt orchestrated against the son of the President… Yet, Jean Sarkozy’s decision to rule himself is an admission of guilt….It shows that the President understood he went too far in exercising his power.”

“He can’t offer everything to his son on a political plate…This controversy comes down to competence or the incompetence of a law student expected to manage the continental Europe’s biggest business district.”

The President “was forced to send his son to the guillotine in order to save his regime,” the paper concludes.

Local papers around France also cover the news. Le Télégramme de Brest in Brittany reminds readers that the position was an elected one, not a nomination.
“The press the world over referred to a banana republic.” The editorial concludes that Jean Sarkozy’s decision to step down was a smart move. “Yes, Sarkozy the father had to make a rare about turn. However, a star has been born.”

The southern paper Midi Libre says Jean Sarkozy stood down but with ‘panache’. “Wisely, Prince Jean gave up his crown on front of an audience of 6 million viewers…It reveals a certain strength, calmness and ability to communicate.”

None of the papers mention a Freudian slip at the end of Jean Sarkozy’s appearance on the France 2 evening news. He spoke about being elected by “mon père” (my father) instead of “mes pairs” (my peers). He later corrected himself but it reveals the stress Jean Sarkozy must have been under because of accusations that his father was orchestrating the election for his own ends. Sarkozy the younger has always insisted that he has acted alone.


Other stories covered in today’s French papers:


France Soir
DNA tests may help to finally resolve the murder of 4-year-old Grégory Villemin in 1984.

Le Parisien
Chosing the gender of your child
 

By James CREEDON

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