A bronze statue of former French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy dressed up as a "worker" has been erected in Parisian suburb.
Though the monument's official inauguration won't take place until September and it will remain covered untill then, the statue is already fueling controversy among locals.
The idea to install the statue – which is meant to symbolize the Italian women who came to France looking for work during the 19th century – came from the mayor of Nogent-sur-Marne, as well as Jacques Martin, a close political ally of Nicolas Sarkozy.
However, the locals seem to be irritated by the statue, as instead of working-class immigrants, it depicts the former leading woman of the country's ruling class.
“It's an insult to the Italian feather workers, to give them the face of an extremely rich person. I have nothing against Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, but she does not represent workers,” local socialist politician William Geib is quoted by The Daily Mail as saying.
Disgrace followed Sarkozy’s defeat in the country's presidential election, and then in a scandal involving illegal cash payments he is alleged to have received from France’s richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt, in exchange for tax breaks.
The Sarkozy couple left their home in Paris about a month ago, and reportedly now reside in Canada. Shortly after they left the country, anti-corruption police raided their residence.
The statue, which is reported to have cost $110,000, was originally thought to have been paid for with tax money. However, recent reports say that a local building company covered the costs, The Daily Mail reports.
Bruni-Sarkozy earlier admitted that she had modeled for the statue.