(dpa) - After a scenario worthy of a Hollywood thriller, the 21-year-old son of French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he was running for political office in the well-to-do Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine.
In an interview published Thursday in the daily Le Figaro, Jean Sarkozy said, "I am a candidate (for the post of regional councillor) because I feel that the time has come for me to commit myself to serving a city I know by heart and which I love."
He added: "I want to strive, and especially for other people. I have something to prove."
If Jean Sarkozy wins the election in the district of Neuilly- South, which will be held on March 9 and 16, he will be one year ahead than his father's was at that time in his precocious political career.
Nicolas Sarkozy was 22 when he was first elected to political office, as Neuilly city councillor.
Jean Sarkozy's candidature follows a complex intrigue in which he was instrumental in having his father's UMP party ditch its candidate for the post of Neuilly mayor, presidential spokesman David Martinon, a candidate he had previously strongly supported.
As a result, there are now two centre-right candidates running for the position Nicolas Sarkozy held for 19 years.
Displaying political acumen unusual for someone his age, young Sarkozy said he would not back either man.
"I will respect the utmost neutrality (in the race)," he told Le Figaro.
The UMP has now formally supported Sarkozy's candidature. But party head Patrick Devedjian had earlier said that he was not yet ready for a post and that "in a republic, jobs are earned through merit, and through work, not through inheritance."
Asked if he had received any advice from his father, Jean Sarkozy said, "He told be to be myself and to assume my responsibilities."