Paris abuzz over Sarkozy 'marital difficulties'

24th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 24 (AFP) - The French media, usually discreet when it comes to the married lives of the country's politicians, was abuzz Tuesday with rumours of problems between ruling party leader Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Cecilia.

PARIS, May 24 (AFP) - The French media, usually discreet when it comes to the married lives of the country's politicians, was abuzz Tuesday with rumours of problems between ruling party leader Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Cecilia.  

"Sarko - mass confusion", read the front-page headline of the popular daily France Soir, over a giant photo of the media-friendly couple, who have long used their marriage as a political asset, like the Kennedys or the Clintons.  

Rumours have swirled around Sarkozy - leader of President Jacques Chirac's centre-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and presidential hopeful - since he cancelled a television appearance Sunday.  

Sarkozy's office said the former finance minister was suffering from "fatigue" in the final phases of his "yes" campaign for the EU constitution, but France Inter radio and Le Monde quickly evoked possible personal problems.  

Quoting a "ministerial advisor", France Soir on Tuesday raised the spectre of a "separation". Le Parisien newspaper wrote of "squabbles" between the two, and Le Figaro made reference to "marital difficulties".  

Le Parisien highlighted the fact that Sarkozy and his wife have always embraced the US style of mixing politics and the personal, "never establishing a clear line between their private life and their public action".  

"As a result, when rumours get started and run through all of political Paris in a few hours, it's hard not to talk about it," the paper noted.  

Sarkozy joined Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin for a campaign rally in the central-western city of Poitiers late Monday, at which the UMP leader alluded indirectly to the persistent rumours.  

"I'm doing very, very well," he told some 2,000 party faithful. "I think that political life should not mean that anything goes. In the name of politics, we should respect a certain number of values from time to time."  

On Monday, Sarkozy simply told RTL radio: "Respect my family."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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