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Ex-French-first lady: Sarkozy baby news wonderful

- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2011

PARIS (AP) - The expectant granddad has spilled the beans: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is pregnant.

Germany's top-selling newspaper on Tuesday quoted President Nicolas Sarkozy's father as saying that the first lady is having a baby. And one of her predecessors says a child at the presidential palace will be wonderful for the whole country.

"It's wonderful news to see this baby coming. It's a chance for France, absolutely," Bernadette Chirac, wife of ex-French President Jacques Chirac, told reporters in Paris on Tuesday at an event for a literacy foundation hosted by Bruni-Sarkozy.

"And a birth, it's a wonderful event for a family, the arrival of a child. There is nothing nicer. A baby at the Elysee, yes. It's wonderful for them and for all the French people," Chirac said.

Bruni-Sarkozy, also attending the event, wouldn't respond to questions by The Associated Press about the pregnancy. Sarkozy's office also refused all comment.

Germany's Bild newspaper quoted Pal Sarkozy as saying: "Neither wants to know the gender beforehand, but I'm certain it will be a girl, and beautiful like Carla."

A pregnancy could be a potential strategic coup for Sarkozy, less than a year ahead of presidential elections. The incumbent's popularity is in the doldrums, but a baby in the Elysee Palace could help voters relate to a man they have seen as increasingly out of touch with their worries.

Reports of her pregnancy first surfaced in late April, when gossip magazine Closer ran a story saying the 43-year-old first lady was three months pregnant. The magazine said that officials were keeping it under wraps because her age makes it a high-risk pregnancy.

Bruni-Sarkozy and Sarkozy married in early 2008 _ less than a year after he took office. She has a son from an earlier relationship, and Sarkozy has three sons from his two previous marriages.

She has made no bones about her desire for another child: in 2009, Bruni-Sarkozy conceded in a published interview that she would adopt one if she were not able to have one with her husband.

The speculation has been rising in recent weeks that she was pregnant. Since France's Fifth Republic began in 1958, no president has fathered _ they've all been men _ a child while in office.

On Monday, at the end of a French television interview with Bruni-Sarkozy about her foundation against illiteracy, host Jean-Pierre Pernaud said: "I know you hate talking about your private life, but I want to simply congratulate you."

Bruni-Sarkozy responded with a big smile: "I congratulate you, too!"

From a wealthy family from the Italian city of Turin, Bruni-Sarkozy had a successful career as a model before becoming a singer-songwriter, known for her soulful lyrics and wispy voice. She's also known for her topsy-turvy romantic life, which included relationships with the likes of Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton.

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