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Sarkozy's son Jean eyes top urban development job

Jean Sarkozy, the 23-year-old son of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, seems first in line to become the new development head of the La Défense business district, sparking charges of nepotism.

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REUTERS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy's 23 year-old son is in line to head the development agency for La Defense business district in Paris, the agency's outgoing boss said on Thursday, sparking opposition charges of nepotism.

Jean Sarkozy, a law student married to the heiress of a retail empire, is currently a local councillor in the wealthy suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine where his father had been mayor.

He is now also be posed to take over as president of EPAD, the public agency in charge of developing La Defense, from Patrick Devedjian, who is leaving his post as he has reached the 65-year age ceiling for the job.

"Jean Sarkozy is a candidate, he will be named director, representative of the board, and he can therefore become president," Devedjian, a government minister and a close associate of President Sarkozy told radio Europe 1.

"In souls nobly born valour does not depend upon age," Devedjian added, quoting the 17th century play, El Cid.

La Defense, a skyscraper-filled zone of banks and corporate headquarters just outside central Paris, is one of the main business areas of the French capital and the government hopes to develop it into a rival for the City of London financial district.

Socialist parliamentarian Michele Delaunay decried the young Sarkozy's candidature as a form of "nepotism and provocation" and pointed out that he had not even finished his degree.

Patrick Jarry, Communist mayor of Nanterre and one of the board members at EPAD, said Jean Sarkozy lacked legitimacy and his candidature was a way of ensuring the clan stayed in power.

French magazine Le Point reported on its website on Wednesday that Jean Sarkozy was likely to secure the board's support on Thursday, paving the way for election to the board on December 4.

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