Newspaper sets off new Sarkozy divorce speculation

12th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

12 October 2007, PARIS (AFP) - A spokesman for the French presidency refused to comment Friday on a newspaper report that Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Cecilia are shortly to announce a divorce.

12 October 2007

PARIS (AFP) - A spokesman for the French presidency refused to comment Friday on a newspaper report that Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Cecilia are shortly to announce a divorce.

Quoting "sources close to the Elysee," L'Est Republicain newspaper said on its Internet site that the couple's "separation and divorce" would be made public Friday.

"Things should move pretty quickly, with divorce papers filed rapidly at the courts in Nanterre (a suburb of Paris)," the newspaper said.

Asked by AFP about the report, Elysee Palace spokesman David Martinon said: "I have no comment to make on press rumours."

Cecilia, 49, has been barely seen at her husband's side since he took office in May, prompting speculation that their relationship -- which went through a period of separation in 2005 -- is once again on the rocks.

Last week she failed to accompany Sarkozy on a visit to Bulgaria, where she was to have received an award for helping secure the release of nurses held in Libya.

In September L'Est Republicain became the only newspaper to publish a post-election interview with Cecilia, in the controversial aftermath of her visits to Libya on behalf of the Bulgarian nurses.

French radio stations on Friday morning discussed the separation rumours, sourcing them to the Swiss newspaper 24 Heures, which described the couple as "unofficially separated." The newspaper said that Cecilia Sarkozy has been in Geneva and London in recent weeks.

Le Nouvel Observateur magazine reported that at a recent France-Georgia rugby match Sarkozy, 52, confided to his Georgian counterpart Mikhail Saakashvili that he might soon be single.

It also quoted Sarkozy as saying: "Thankfully there is the rugby. With that you can forget all the rest."

Cecilia Sarkozy has not appeared in public since the funeral in September of her first husband, television presenter Jacques Martin.

Her only official overseas visit with her husband was in June, when she cut short her stay at the G8 meeting in Germany. On holiday in the United States in August, she flunked a picnic lunch with President George W. Bush.

The couple first met in 1984 when Sarkozy -- then mayor of the Paris suburb of Neuilly -- officiated at her wedding to Martin. Twelve years later, both now divorced with two children each, she and Sarkozy married and in 1997 had a child of their own, Louis.

In April rumours of a separation were rampant after Cecilia was conspiciously absent from Sarkozy's election campaign. She was then photographed voting in round one of the election, but in the second round two weeks later she failed to cast a vote.

Cecilia has never moved into the Elysee Palace, preferring the couple's apartment in Neuilly or La Lanterne, an official residence in the grounds of the palace of Versailles.

Before the election, she said she could not see herself as a conventional first lady. "It bores me ... I don't fit the mould," she said.

AFP

Subject: French news

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