Former French justice minister Rachida Dati said on Tuesday she was pulling out of the competition to be the right-wing candidate for next year's Paris mayoral vote, which is shaping up to be a historic all-female race.
Dati, a glamorous protegé of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, told news weekly Le Point she was dropping out of the primary vote to be the candidate for the right-wing UMP party.
She said her rival Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Sarkozy's former spokeswoman, already had the primary vote sown up.
"She has already been chosen by the media and the system, that is the reality," Dati said. "In this context, I am withdrawing my candidacy."
The 2007 cabinet appointment of Dati, who is of North African origin, was initially hailed as a symbol of inclusiveness, but she was eventually dropped from the government after her penchant for designer dresses and appearing on the covers of celebrity magazines prompted criticism.
Dati, 47, is currently embroiled in a legal battle to have French tycoon Dominique Desseigne accept paternity for her daughter that has seen his lawyers accuse her of having eight lovers at the time of conception.
The Socialists have chosen deputy mayor Anne Hidalgo, a close friend of current Mayor Bertrand Delanöe, as their candidate to replace him as mayor, a position traditionally seen as a springboard to high office.