STOCKHOLM (AP) — A Swedish politician surrounded by rumors of being the secret son of Francois Mitterrand has said in an interview that the late French president was his father.
Hravn Forsne, a 25-year-old running for Parliament, made the claim in an interview with Kungsbacka-Nytt, a local newspaper in his electoral district.
"I want to be judged for who I am, not who my father was," Forsne told the paper. "But OK, that's how it is: Francois Mitterrand was my father."
The announcement made headlines in France, but Forsne has rejected other interviews after the article was published late last week. He did not offer evidence of his parentage.
"I don't want to answer any questions," he told The Associated Press by phone on Monday before hanging up.
If the claim is correct he would be Mitterrand's second child out of wedlock. The president had a daughter, Mazarine, with mistress Anne Pingeot. He also had three sons with wife Danielle, one of whom died at a young age.
Addressing rumors that had been swirling in France for years, Forsne's mother, Chris, told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet in 2012 that she had had a secret relationship with Mitterrand, who died of cancer in 1996. She declined to discuss her son in that interview.
Calls to her home in Sweden rang unanswered on Monday.
"People knew that Mitterrand had many women who revolved in and out of his life," said David Le Bailly, author of "Mitterrand's Captive" about Anne Pingeot. "One, two, three. What is more shocking is the means that were dedicated to protect his privacy."
In the Kungsbacka-Nytt article, Forsne said he was born in Paris, where his mother worked, and that he met Mitterrand "five, six times."
"I was 7 when he died. That I'm engaged in politics is my own decision," he said. "If you are going to make a family connection, then political discussions with my mother have been the foundation for this."
Kungsbacka-Nytt editor Tobias Sandblom said Forsne had read the article before it was published and had no objections. Sandblom also forwarded an email conversation with Forsne in which he wrote the article was "very good."
In contrast to Mitterrand, a Socialist, Forsne represents Sweden's conservative Moderate Party.
He is running for the Moderates both in local elections and the parliamentary vote on Sept. 14.
Kage Johansson, Moderate campaign leader in Halland county, said Forsne's revelation may have made him more recognizable to voters, but said the party didn't know about it until Forsne informed them the day the article came out.
"It hasn't changed my perception of him," Johansson said. "I don't care if (his father was) Mitterrand or Ronald Reagan."
Associated Press writer Lori Hinnant in Paris contributed to this report.