Premières Dames past and present join election pantomime



François Hollande's girlfriend is furious with President Nicolas Sarkozy. So is his former wife, Cécilia.

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy says that she is more like Lady Gaga than a classic First Lady. Some people in the president's party are inclined to agree and would like her to be more active in the campaign.

With less than two weeks to go before the first round of the French presidential elections, the present, would-be and "ex" Premières Dames have joined the fray with press interviews and – in Cécilia Sarkozy's case – by leaking her annoyance with the President to a magazine website.

The sub-plot of the last presidential campaign in 2007 was the shaky romantic relationships of both front-runners. Their partnerships broke up soon after the election. Mr Sarkozy split with Cécilia, his second wife, and the Socialist candidate Segolene Royal separated from her long-term partner and the father of her four children – this year's Socialist candidate, François Hollande.

There have been no such distractions this time around. In fact, both Ms Bruni-Sarkozy and Mr Hollande's new partner, Valérie Trierweiler, have played relatively little part in the campaign.

That has not prevented the Sarkozy camp – and even the President in person – throwing lumps of mud at Ms Trierweiler. The presidential campaign has let it be known that the TV and magazine journalist, is "cold", "not liked", "known as the Duchess" and that she "voted Sarkozy last time".

The President has himself suggested – wrongly – that Ms Trierweiler is a "friend" of wealthy media barons. He also criticised the fact that she appeared with Mr Hollande at a memorial service for the soldier victims of the Toulouse killer.

In an interview with the newspaper Libération, Ms Trierweiler, 47, said: "I don't understand his attitude. No one is attacking his wife. What reason has he got to let loose at me? It's not worthy of a President."

There has been some criticism of Ms Bruni-Sarkozy, but mostly from within the president's own camp. "There are some people who think that she is too passive," said one official in Mr Sarkozy's party, the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire.

In an interview with the magazine Le Nouvel Observateur last week, Ms Bruni-Sarkozy said that she was doing as much as her husband wanted. Compared to previous first ladies, such as the politically active but conservative Claude Pompidou, "I am Lady Gaga" she said – in other words media-savvy but a political novice.

Ms Bruni-Sarkozy also revealed that she liked occasionally to travel around Paris incognito wearing a wig. Last weekend, just after the interview, she visited a hospital in the south of France with her husband. This was her first active campaign appearance, apart from taking a seat in the front row at one or two rallies.

Meanwhile, the former Cécilia Sarkozy, now living in New York, is said to be furious that her ex-husband has blamed her, and the break-up of their marriage, for the many gaffes that he committed early in his term of office.

German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Pepper, the 3ft 11in shiny box of circuits who can tell jokes and respond to human emotions
techDavid McNeill tests the mettle of one of the new generation of androids being developed in Tokyo
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General


£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Linux Systems Administrator

£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice