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Tuesday, May 28
The Indiana Daily Student


The dauphin debate: Jean Sarkozy a daddy’s boy?


I have known countless friends and classmates who spend summers working a convenient internship position at their parents’ places of work – is this nepotism? 

Well, that may a bit too harsh for said cases. 

But in the case of France’s first son, Jean Sarkozy, whose new job is to manage one of Europe’s leading financial districts, people start to get a little feisty.

France has been in an uproar since last week’s nomination of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 23-year-old son to manage France’s La Defense business district, the country’s largest business district.

It’s the same job that Jean Sarkozy’s far more experienced father had up until his election to president in 2007. 

It didn’t take long before accusations of “nepotism” were all over the media and in the streets, and so the clamor and debate began.

Certainly the most boisterous argument over the recent events is Jean Sarkozy’s lack of experience.

Jean is currently in his second year of law school at Sorbonne (the University of Paris) and has had only a few years of political experience in his young career.

Leading the development of La Defense is quite the job for a student, is it not?

In his defense, Jean has previously been noted to be a fast-rising political talent. Last year he was elected as councillor in the wealthy suburban Hauts-de-Seine region and quickly became a leading member.

But in his new role, Jean would become chairman of EPAD, the La Defense development agency, and would be charged with managing the country’s biggest business district.

Given the magnitude of this role, the uproar that ensued has been quite heated.
In a matter of days, an online petition in opposition to “Prince Jean” had already accumulated 40,000 people.

Some critics are suggesting that Sarkozy is grooming him to take over as president. Several journalists have started referring to Jean Sarkozy as the “dauphin,” a term used in French history for the King’s son or heir. 

Furthermore, several international media outlets have also suggested that this act is in true French fashion and that President Sarkozy is grooming his son to inherit his role.
This is upsetting to the French, as such remarks threaten to tarnish their government’s international image.

The move is certainly not doing any favors for his father’s reputation either.

There are still others that insist that Jean is a qualified candidate regardless of his family ties.

Jean insists that he is ready for the position and that criticism and suggestions of nepotism are all part of politics and do not hold any legitimacy. 

President Sarkozy has defended his actions, stating that the scrutiny and criticism that his son has been subject to is unfair and untrue. He feels his son has been “thrown to the wolves” in an undeserved barrage of defamation.

I find it interesting that Sarkozy would appoint his son to such a prestigious and significant position, given his son’s credentials.

President Sarkozy had to have seen this reaction coming. 

So perhaps Jean is, in fact, an apt candidate. Maybe he is a born leader who just happens to be related to the current president of France.

Or, maybe the dauphin is simply in line to inherit the throne. Only time will tell.  
But for now, the French are not too happy with “daddy” hooking-up young “Prince Jean” with such a big job.

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