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Thursday, 22 June, 2000, 01:01 GMT 02:01 UK
Napoleon sets sights on Corsica
napoleon
Charles Napoleon: Fighting "corruption and nepotism"
The name Napoleon is returning to France's political stage after a gap of 130 years.

But this Napoleon does not have his sights set on Europe.



There is definitely a notoriety attached to my name, which may or may not help

Charles Napoleon
Instead, Charles Napoleon, great-great-grandson of Napoleon Bonaparte's brother Jerome, aims to become the next mayor of Ajaccio in Corsica.

Ajaccio is where Napoleon Bonaparte was born in 1769, and so it is an appropriate birthplace for Charles's own political adventure.

But Charles is unsure whether his name will help or hinder him.


bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte: Waterloo sunset
"There is definitely a notoriety attached to my name, which may or may not help," he said.

Charles, 50, who works as a property and town planning consultant for a small Paris firm, but has had a home on Corsica for several years, said he would be standing as an independent in next March's municipal elections against the "corruption and nepotism" of the established parties.

He said: "I was constantly being stopped by people in the streets and being told I had to do something."


Napoleon Bonaparte 1769-1821
Distinguishing features: Left-handed, small
Crowning glories: Puts down Paris riots (1795) with a "whiff of grapeshot", conquers most of Europe (1799-1815), crowned (himself) emperor of France (1804)
Marriage: To Josephine (1796; divorced 1809). Marries Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria (one son, 1811)
Nickname: Le Petit Corporal
Downfall: Defeated at Waterloo 1815 by British-Prussian alliance. Abdicated and exiled to St Helena
Conceding that his forebear had not set a particularly good example in the fight against nepotism, he said he drew more inspiration from the early stages of his ancestor's career, when he championed the ideas of revolutionary France, than from his later imperialism.

"History is one thing. Contemporary politics is another," he said. "I prefer not to mix the two."

Napoleon Bonaparte, conqueror of Europe and bugbear of the English, died on the island of St Helena in 1821, leaving behind an array of siblings occupying kingdoms and duchies around the continent.

His nephew Louis Napoleon ruled as French emperor Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870, but was deposed after the Franco-Prussian war, and the Bonaparte family was then ordered into exile by the incoming republican government.

The role of family head switched to the line of Jerome, King of Westphalia, after Napoleon III's son was killed by Zulus in 1879, and the family was let back into France after the current prince's father served with the resistance in World War II.

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See also:

09 Feb 00 | Europe
Battle lines drawn at Waterloo
09 Nov 99 | Middle East
Napoleonic soldiers laid to rest
28 Jun 99 | Middle East
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