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
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
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
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)
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