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Under the mistletoe at the Elysée Palace

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy looked delighted to be treated to a kiss from a stranger at the annual Christmas party in the Elysée Palace in Paris yesterday. Coming from one of the child attendees, however, her husband, President Nicolas Sarkozy, had no cause for jealousy.

The French First Lady had commented earlier that Mr Sarkozy is actively considering whether to stand for a second term in 2012. When asked if the President had sought her opinion on whether to run for office again, she said: "He asks for my opinion about many things, as many husbands and wives do. But as far as that decision is concerned, it's a choice that is up to him alone."

She added: "I think he reflects a lot about it, but I'm not going to get involved. It's too important, too difficult, too personal for me to get involved. But I will follow him whatever he does."

Mr Sarkozy's popularity ratings continue to remain at near-record lows, after he pushed through a decision to raise the retirement age in France which sparked a wave of strikes across the country in October.