Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- President Nicolas Sarkozy’s wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy had a baby girl yesterday, the first birth for a French incumbent head of state since Empress Eugenie had Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte 155 years ago.
The baby was born last night at the La Muette clinic in Paris. The birth is the first ever for a French president in office. The child is the fourth for the president, who has three sons from two previous marriages. Bruni, 43, has a son by an earlier relationship.
“They are doing very well,” Sarkozy said of his wife and newborn during a visit to Mayenne in western France today.
With the latest addition to his family, Sarkozy joins British Prime Minister David Cameron, who became the father of Florence Rose Endellion three months into his mandate last year, and Tony and Cherie Blair, who had their fourth child, Leo, in 2000, three years into his first term as the British PM.
“This is undoubtedly a unique event, a historical event in France’s presidency,” said Matthias Gurtler, executive editor of Gala weekly magazine, said in an interview on France Info radio today. “It’s the first time that a baby is born to an acting president. This really interests people across France.”
Bruni has said she will do everything possible to keep her child out of public view.
“There is and will be no official communication, there will be no official photos,” Gurtler said. “But the buzz created before the birth and also after the birth is totally orchestrated.”
Since the first report of her pregnancy in the gossip magazine Closer on April 22, Bruni has been interviewed more than a half a dozen times, including by readers of Le Parisien newspaper, TF1 and France 2 television, British Broadcasting Corp. radio and magazines such as Elle and Madame Figaro. The president’s office wouldn’t confirm the birth of the baby, although it hasn’t challenged media reports.
Sarkozy, 56, has Pierre, 26, and Jean, 25, from his first marriage to Marie-Dominique Culioli. Louis, 14, is the son he had with Cecilia Attias, whom he divorced in December 2007. Bruni has a 10-year-old son named Aurelien with French philosopher Raphael Enthoven.
Bruni, a successful 1990s model who turned singer in the 2000s, had expressed a wish to have a child with Sarkozy. In a Vanity Fair magazine interview two years ago she said “I hope to, if I am young enough. It would be a dream.”
In a December state visit to India, she reportedly told a Muslim cleric at Fatehpur Sikri, the Mogul emperors’ city, that she was “praying for a son.”
Bruni, who married Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace, has kept a low profile, although she has accompanied the president on visits to the U.S., South Africa, India, Tunisia and Brazil.
The president, elected in May 2007 for a five-year mandate, has yet to say if he’ll seek a second term next year.
“I won’t be on the campaign trail,” Bruni told Madame Figaro in an interview Sept. 29. “I will be taking care of the baby!”
Sarkozy’s popularity fell this month to close to its record low. In March, polls showed that he was the least popular French leader since World War II. All surveys in the past four months have shown that he’d lose the presidential election to the Socialist Party’s candidate Francois Hollande.
It’s not clear if the birth of the baby will improve his chances. Before news of the baby’s birth yesterday, a poll showed that Hollande would win 62 percent and Sarkozy 38 percent in a run-off. The poll by CSA for BFM TV and RMC radio was the first poll since the Socialist primary on Oct. 16.
In the election’s first round, Hollande would take 35 percent, Sarkozy 25 percent, anti-immigrant campaigner Marine Le Pen 16 percent and centrist Francois Bayrou 9 percent, the poll showed. Under the French system, a run-off is held if no candidate wins a majority in the first round.
France holds presidential elections next May. The poll surveyed 1,010 people on Oct. 17. No margin of error was given.
Sarkozy was briefly in Frankfurt yesterday evening to meet with euro-area leaders to seek to narrow divisions four days before a summit to solve the sovereign debt crisis.
The baby’s arrival comes as France struggles to maintain its AAA credit rating. Europe’s second-biggest economy is under pressure, Moody’s Investors Service said Oct. 17, because the region’s financial crisis has made its debt measures the weakest among top-rated peers, including Germany and the U.K.
“France may lose its AAA, but Sarkozy won a BB,” French humorist Nicolas Canteloup said today on Europe 1 radio.
To contact the reporter on this story: Helene Fouquet in Deauville, France, at Hfouquet1@bloomberg.net
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