Sarkozy under pressure to speak on marriage

15th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

15 October 2007, PARIS (AFP) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy will be under new pressure Monday to clarify the state of his marriage, as reports intensified over the weekend that a divorce announcement is imminent from his wife Cecilia.

15 October 2007

PARIS (AFP) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy will be under new pressure Monday to clarify the state of his marriage, as reports intensified over the weekend that a divorce announcement is imminent from his wife Cecilia.

Sarkozy's official spokesman refused Sunday night to comment on "press rumours" ahead of a press conference scheduled for Monday.

Asked if an announcement of a split was imminent David Martinon told AFP Sunday: "I have nothing to say. I never comment on press rumours."

La Tribune financial newspaper quoted on its Internet site a "generally well-informed source" saying that a divorce will be officially declared by a court on Wednesday.

Le Nouvel Observateur magazine, on its website, said an "official separation announcement should take place Monday."

On Friday there were already rumours of the couple's separation or divorce circulating in newsrooms, but there was no confirmation.

L'Est Republicain newspaper, which first reported on its website an imminent separation on Friday morning, said it stood by its story and that "the only question is how the Elysee will make the announcement."

By Sunday Christophe Barbier, editor of L'Express magazine, told the news Internet site lepost.fr: "We are heading towards an apparently imminent official announcement.

"It's an unofficial piece of news waiting for official confirmation. Let's say that at this stage it's an open secret.

"The only question now is the timing -- perhaps at the start of this week -- and the form the announcement will take," he said.

Cecilia Sarkozy, 49, was once again absent from the president's side at Saturday's World Cup rugby match against England. She has been barely seen in his company since he took office in May, fuelling growing speculation that she is unhappy in her role as first lady and wants to separate.

The couple have a famously tempestuous relationship, and split up for several months in 2005 when she eloped to New York with an advertising executive. Reports say the former model has recently been seen in Geneva and London.

"All passions come to an end. They are living through what millions of French people go through every year. There was a false end in 2005, but this looks like the real one," Barbier told lepost.fr.

Sarkozy was by his own account "profoundly shaken" by the 2005 separation, and attention is bound to focus on how he copes with a new split.

"(The big question is) Nicolas Sarkozy's behaviour once he loses Cecilia. In 2005 we saw how his mood changed. He was less controlled, more stressed, more aggressive. We'll just have to see what effects there are on his sang-froid and his ability to concentrate on the job," Barbier said.

AFP

Subject: French news

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