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France's Sarkozy Feels "deep Joy" at New Baby

Thursday, 20 Oct 2011 07:06 AM

 

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PARIS, Oct 20 (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Thursday he and first lady Carla Bruni were deeply happy over their baby daughter, the first official confirmation of the birth, but added he would leave it to his wife to reveal the girl's name.

Speaking to reporters during a trip to the town of Mayenne in northwestern France, following two lightening visits to see his wife and baby, Sarkozy said they wanted to keep the arrival of their first child together a private matter.

"All of you who are parents can understand the very deep joy that Carla and I feel. Each one of you can also understand that it's an even deeper joy because it is private," he said.

"We have been lucky to have a very happy event take place," he said. "I will just keep to these few brief words to say to you that they are doing very well."

Sarkozy and his office have kept silent throughout Bruni's pregnancy, despite high interest in what is the first baby ever born to a French presidential couple in office, with Sarkozy intent on repairing an image many see as too brash and informal.

Many in France had found his high-speed courtship of Bruni, a former supermodel and singer, distasteful coming shortly after his 2007 election as president and on the heels of his divorce from his second wife, Cecilia.

Sarkozy's office refused to confirm the birth -- which French media said took place at around 1800 GMT on Wednesday while Sarkozy was in Frankfurt debating possible solutions to the euro zone crisis -- saying it did not comment on private matters.

Sarkozy's father, Pal Sarkozy, spoke to France's BFM television however, saying the family was "thrilled" and that Bruni was tired but "doing very well".

"We are thrilled to have a 14th grandchild, who is a little girl. Everybody is doing well. Carla is doing very well, I have had news from her, she is a bit tired but that's completely normal," Pal Sarkozy told BFM.

Pollsters say the birth could give a brief boost to Sarkozy as he grapples with dismal popularity ratings of around 30 percent six months before a presidential election that left-wing challenger Francois Hollande is in a strong position to win.

Sarkozy may have raised eyebrows among family-minded voters, however, for jumping on a plane to Frankfurt while Bruni was in labour, returning later in the evening and briefly visiting her and the baby in the maternity clinic.

He returned on Thursday morning, but for less than an hour and did not appear to have flowers or other gifts.

Defence Minister Gerard Longuet told i>Tele Sarkozy was "very happy" and this could only be a good thing for both the ruling conservatives and the country.

"A president who feels good in his skin, good in his head, good in his life, that's a gift for our country," Longuet told i

Sarkozy has three children from two earlier marriages and Bruni has a son from a prior relationship. (Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry and Alexandria Sage; Writing by Catherine Bremer; editing by Elizabeth Piper)

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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