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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
Napoleon runs for parliament seat
Charles Napoleon
Mr Napoleon hopes voters will recognise his own achievements
A new Napoleonic campaign is under way in France - but this time the great-great-grandnephew of Napoleon Bonaparte is trying to get elected.

Charles Napoleon, 57, is running for the Democratic Movement party. It was founded by centrist Francois Bayrou, who ran in the presidential race.

"I have a life beyond my name and inheritance," he insists.

Two centuries ago the emperor Napoleon led French armies into battle. Charles hopes for a seat in parliament.

"I stand behind my name, but I'm also careful never to hide my own values," he says.

The parliamentary election will take place in two rounds, on 10 and 17 June.

Charles Napoleon is standing in a constituency that includes Fontainebleau, where the emperor had his favourite residence and spent his last days before heading into exile.

Unlike his diminutive ancestor, Mr Napoleon stands almost two metres (6ft, 5 inches) tall.

The modern politician uses an orange-painted "Napomobil" van to travel through his constituency of 110,000 voters.

Lessons from Napoleon

Mr Napoleon first entered politics in 2001, when he won a municipal election in the city of Ajaccio, Corsica.

His surname is Napoleon rather than Bonaparte since his great grandfather decided to use it.

"Some people tell me: 'Napoleon is dead. So who are you?'", he says.

But Mr Napoleon runs a foundation and has written several books about his ancestor.

"One lesson I draw from Napoleon and other leaders... is that you need to be able to take risks and innovate," he told Reuters news agency.

"We're always facing new problems, such as the environmental challenges today. We must respond in new ways.

"In a similar way, the question of equality of human beings was posed after the French Revolution. ... He (Napoleon) responded to that. It is up to us to tackle our era's problems," he said.

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